Here we are at the end of June. Another “high point” in the never-ending election cycle that defines politics in this country.

When I was young, elections were fairly limited in their time frame. Every two years, there would be campaigns, primaries and elections. Every other one of those, every four years, there would be a presidential contest. The parties would disagree on which and how policies should be implemented.

But in the end, there was always compromise, where they could agree to disagree and move forward with the intent of doing the greatest good for the American people.

There were always serious differences of opinion, and things seemed to ebb and flow. One party or the other would side with business interests and the wealthy to a large degree, while the other would side with the people, trying to give them an equal playing field no matter their race, religion, sexual preference, etc.

Religion and sexual preference were often swept under the rug and ignored. Race had an interesting history in our political lives. First one party embraced diversity and equality, while over time, the parties seemed to have switched positions.

The two parties have rigged the system to make is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for independent candidates to win elections. Independents are forced to gather a certain number of signatures on petitions to get a spot on the ballot. And the parties themselves have even rigged the primary system to ensure that their favored candidate will be the one running in the general election.

We have seen that in the federal elections, and it has worked its way into statewide and local contests. Party leaders once stayed out of primary battles, then backed whomever won in the general election. That is no longer the case.

It is particularly ironic that two parties control the elections, given that independent voters now outnumber either party and are getting close to outnumbering both of them combined.

Politics has become a blood sport. It is 24/7, day after day, warfare. If you are on the other “side,” then you are wrong or you are evil. No longer are candidates judged by their actions and policies in general. It is now a world of personal attacks and some of the most outrageous lies imaginable.

How many of you have lost family and friends over politics, especially in the last eight to 10 years? How many people now will not recognize the humanity of other people because of their race, religion, sexual preference or political party?

How many times do we miss opportunities to meet and interact with others because we allow people in power to divide us and to keep us focused on making a living to the degree that we miss having a life?

Why do we allow them to keep us separated, when we are truly related? Why do we hate someone or something that we don’t even know just because we are indoctrinated that way? Why have we become so politically polarized?

Why do we believe that this person or the other one will somehow save us? Why do we fall for the lies of the political parties, politicians and their corporate masters, when in this technological age, the truth can easily be found by doing some research and checking the sources?

We can watch and hear what people say but then choose to live with the lies that fit preconceived notions.

We are all human beings, part of this planet. We are a part of everything. I feel sorry for anyone who hates rather than loves their fellow human beings.

Scott Perez is a Durango area-based former working cowboy, guide and occasional actor. He has a master’s in Natural Resource Management from Cornell University.

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