Normally I would stay miles away from any discussion on politics, but lately the political discourse in our nation – from the politicians and the pundits – has become so heated, shrill, and hateful that I worry about what it bodes for the future of our Republic. Pundit after pundit on this or that boutique “news” channel spews a steady stream of vitriol to rev up their respective audiences (and fellow “believers”) and bring them to a fever pitch – as if these are fans at some high school or college football game where their team is facing a hated, traditional rival. These hysterical media shills don the mantle of the guardian of their respective camp’s ideology, where no disagreement or compromise can ever be tolerated.

And much like a Sondergericht during the Third Reich, facts are optional in this tumultuous torrent of tweets, twaddle, and tirades. The object of the vituperation is already guilty. In fact, anybody who doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid of either political camp is seen as suspect. The political atmosphere in our country reminds me of the closing scene of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where Donald Sutherland has finally become one of the “Pod People” and sounds the alarm when he sees a fugitive, human, former friend.

9/11 brought all Americans together and unified us in a way not seen since December 7, 1941. In the years since, so-called “news” channels and networks that only push opinion and propaganda have polarized us and drawn us apart. Calm, reasoned, objective political discussion has been nearly universally supplanted by partisan bickering and verbal mud-slinging. Meanwhile we have a national debt coming off the rails, infrastructure in a state of near-collapse, real middle class wages that haven’t risen in a decade, endless wars being fought by military members serving tour after tour with no end in sight, healthcare with rising costs and more questions than answers, and my list could go on and on. As America collapses and burns, elitist, professional politicians in Washington shake their fists and cast insults at each other, simply pouring additional fuel on the conflagration. None of them think about actually serving the people anymore, only their own, narrow political self-interests. Their egos have eclipsed whatever empathy they might have had.

Regardless of whether they are from the left or the right, be they Democrat or Republican, we have allowed these shallow trolls and their media mouthpieces to usurp Democracy. We have allowed them to do what Al-Qaeda could not, even in our darkest hour. We have allowed them to tear us apart.