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Amazingly, consumers seem to be spending, and Americans appear to be shedding the anxieties that have stymied confidence. American optimism is a remarkable resource that defines the U.S. as exceptional among all the nations.

Yet, the problems and threats confronting the world are ongoing and real. The multitude of dangers that could impact the U.S. make for jittery investors and frighten people, including those whose decisions will affect future employment. It also provides fodder for political gamesmanship that disregards the common good seeking electoral advantages.

The foolish vindictiveness of the political wars gave birth to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movement. At first glance, these groups would appear as far apart as possible. The common thread is the unfairness felt by their members. Americans have concluded that government and the ground rules that have traditionally governed people’s lives have been turned into political spoils used to secure future support.

Politicians have concluded that most people do not vote. The voters who count are those who do so during primaries. As the most committed voters, they usually represent hardcore advocates of extreme positions. As a consequence, only those seeking an elected office that panders to the extremes have any hope of winning their party’s primary.

Citizens are in the streets across the nation and at rallies decrying anyone who believes that government is a force for good. Probably those who are protesting will participate in the upcoming presidential election process. It would be a shame if potential voters conclude that the process is so alienating as to excuse them from voting. Only when voter apathy is defeated and Americans accept their obligation to participate can America begin healing from the polarizing cancerous political wars that currently are normal.

Edward Horn

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