Americans are not shy about expressing themselves. I recently had the unpleasant experience of getting flamed on a discussion board for expressing my opinion and am certain that will be the last time I do that. Not because I’m intimidated—oh no. But it was frustrating to be insulted and criticized—personally attacked—by someone who doesn’t know anything about me. There’s no reasoning with people like that.

But debate is good, it’s necessary, and it’s what our founding fathers wanted. We often complain that the government takes too long to react to crisis and injustice. Lately there have been a lot of mixed feelings about how fast or slow they should move. Being unemployed I have a personal interest in seeing this economy get out of the slump and some of the recovery money is helping—some. However, being fiscally conservative I also see the horrific consequences we’ll have to deal with because of this spending free-for-all.

While on a trip recently, I read various signs that expressed the views of my fellow countrymen. I want to share these with you—but please don’t flame me. I’m a big girl and can take some heat but I do have feelings.

  • U.S. stands for Unlimited Spending—saw that on the Bridgeville Fire Department marquee. Very witty and oh so true.
  • Socialism = trickle up poverty—this one was a bumper sticker. If only I was as smart and entrepreneurial, I could make money selling crap to everyone.
  • Reward, Straw Thief—okay, this one was on a piece of board near a farm and I thought it was funny. And it does have to do with money and the value someone puts on their straw. (Which reminds me of a time in high school when my friends and I, ahem, borrowed a bale of straw and tossed it into the pool of our rival swim team. Hey—we were kids with nothing to do and it was better than going out and getting into worse trouble.)

So remember—you may not agree with the guy who lives next to you and that’s okay. Healthy debate is good. It makes us think hard about policies, laws, and programs before we react too quickly and make mistakes. Just try to formulate intelligent arguments, get your facts straight, and be respectful. I love America. I love speaking my mind (but no longer on discussion boards). And I love the people who protect those rights for me.