The next few months will challenge us to dig deeper emotionally to find the truth within ourselves about ourselves. Our collective character as a nation is about to be tested. Spending cuts are on the way.

We will start hearing about how cuts will affect us personally, and we won’t like it. We don’t have to like it. But we must honor the process.

The shameless, destructive name-calling by our political leadership has got to stop. Politicians use sound bites to bite each other. It’s not funny. Some of them are using free speech not as a tool to educate and build, but as a weapon to destroy each other.

Our confidence in our government becomes the emotional collateral damage. It is a horrible example for all of us, and this shouldn’t be what America stands for.

Rather than encouraging our children to listen and learn about our system, we are not comfortable with what they might hear regarding the name-calling.

If I turn on the television or radio news I am going to hear our leaders calling each other vicious names and accusing each other of wanting our fellow Americans to go hungry, stay sick, possibly die. That is ridiculous, and the people saying it know it.

Those who stand on principles have been likened to terrorists, even. I don’t believe it, and find it upsetting and insulting.

How can our national leaders expect us to respect them when they hold their peers in such low regard?

We have got to find a way to start respecting our government officials and stop believing that if they don’t vote the way we think they should have they are self-serving, dishonest, worthless human beings.

We are real estate agents. We deal with the real issues. We see families and jobs or the lack of them up close. We feel it every time mortgage rates change, more foreclosures hit the market, and when short sales take too long to close or fall through. We also get involved with community services that help people who are hurting.

We see America up close and personal every day.

We hear it and feel it when local governments cuts jobs, raise taxes and reduce pensions.

Many of us grew up with the childhood mantra: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Lie. And based on the bullying epidemic in what sometimes serves as antisocial media, using words to destroy each other is becoming more common than we care to think about.

What hurts now is that we can watch it on a daily basis, courtesy of those who should be the most respected leaders in the U.S.

We all have been on the wrong end of name-calling, at some point. It hurts.

My nickname on the high school baseball team in the ninth grade almost destroyed my baseball career, which somehow extended through college. I made the team as a ninth-grade pitcher. One night, before a game, the senior catcher asked me to throw to him as hard as I could.

He removed his catcher’s mitt and caught me bare-handed. From then on I was known as "windowpane" because he said I couldn’t break one.

Everyone had a big laugh about it on the bus after the game — that is, everyone but me. I quit the team. From then on, I decided to not ever call anyone a name that might hurt them.

I did not vote for President Obama, and will not vote for him in the next election. I strongly disagree with just about everything he stands for. He has the right to feel the same way about me. I believe that he is a good father and good husband. He is my president, and I will respect him for that reason.

As I watched the struggles with the recent bill, I remembered something: Every country has political problems, and some countries choose to let the military handle those political problems. Watch the news tonight, or almost any night, and you can see it for yourself.

This is America. Free speech should be a tool to educate, not a weapon to destroy.

We are real estate professionals. We love our communities and the people in them. We are politically active. In many ways, we have the heartbeat of our communities in our hands. We love our country.

Let’s ask our leaders to show us and our children what freedom sounds like when it rings, not rants.

"God Bless America."

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