One of the great things we as Americans have is the fact that we can have differing opinions and share them freely without fear of reprisal from the government, everyone can express free thought and the media reports both sides fairly and objectively, reporting only the facts of every issue so we can be free to choose for ourselves.
Well, in theory, it is supposed to work that way.
Unfortunately, in today's volatile political climate, it doesn't. In fact, we are about as far from that as it seems we have ever been in this country.
Today we are being forced to choose a side on everything under the sun, and it seems to be divided along all sorts of lines: Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, white versus non-white, straight or non-straight and more. In addition, you have to choose whether or not to support the most common-sense things like having a military, having a police force, having a border with immigration rules, and teaching correct history, both the good and the bad.
It's really disgusting that Americans are so divided that we cannot stand united on anything, even against things that can harm us as a nation.
For example, it is not wrong to support the police as an entity while holding individual officers accountable for their actions and their responsibilities. There are laws and individuals have rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Officers are to uphold the laws while at the same time protect and honor our rights as individuals.
Many ideas being promoted are ludicrous and will only further divide us. An example is paying reparations to people who were never involved in being wronged by people who had nothing to do with the wrongdoing. That action would open a Pandora's box that would never be closed. Children (or descendants) are not responsible for the crimes and wrongdoings of their fathers (their ancestors). Many groups of people have been wronged over the years - African Americans, Native Americans, religious groups, farmers, ranchers and more. While wrongs have taken place in the past, an endless supply of money today is not going to correct those wrongs. All of the talk on this and many other subjects is nothing more than bribes for votes.
Years ago, I heard a story of someone who always looked at life on the bright side. One day he was shot. As he was being taken into surgery the concerned doctors and nurses were asking questions and asked if he was allergic to anything to which he replied "yes, bullets." He then told the surgical team he could choose to be scared or he could choose to be happy they were available to help him in his time of need, so he was going to choose the latter. Likewise, they had a choice to make too, and he encouraged them to choose to be confident they could help him recover.
We have many choices in the chaos going on around us. We are free to choose the paths we want to take, and we do not need one party or strangers hiding behind computer screens on social media to make our choices for us.
If you want to support the president, do it. If you want to support his opponent, do it. If you want to be Christian, do it. If you don't, that's okay - there are other religions full of good and honorable people and you can be one of them.
The system works if we as individuals will stand united and support it. Now, what will you choose to do?
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.