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Is our republic in a bit of trouble?

Photo Credit: FILE

There are a couple of polls out today that paint a bit of a bleak picture...

First, with the country more divided than ever, a new poll finds that the number of Americans supporting a one-party rule is spiking to historic levels

A Gallup poll found that 38 percent of Americans want single-party rule in Washington, while 23 percent want divided government. A third have no preference, down from 39 percent in 2011. At that time, 29 percent wanted divided government, and 28 percent wanted single-party rule. In the past, most Americans have generally had no preference.

Democrats drove the sharp spike in support of one-party dominance, with 49 percent hoping for it, up for 35 percent in 2011. A slightly higher number of Republicans also wished for one party rule, and the percentage of independents jumped from 21 percent to 28 percent.

The numbers are highly influenced by political events, according to Gallup. In 2004, when Republicans held both the presidency and both chambers of Congress, GOP voters preferred single party government, 59 percent to 18 percent. Democrats wanted divided government, 42 percent to 37 percent.

While I get as fed up with bickering politicians as anyone, the rush to support one-party rule seems a bit rash.  The debate is important, albeit sometimes annoying.  I'd rather have a dragging debate than none at all.

The other poll that alarmed me today was a Fox News poll which found a majority of Americans want the president to speak out in favor of free speech rather than criticize how certain Americans use that freedom.  The bad news?  It's not as big of a majority as you might think:

A Fox News poll released Thursday finds 61 percent of voters think the president of the United States should “stand up for freedom of speech, even if it’s offensive,” while 22 percent say the president should “condemn offensive speech if it might provoke Islamic violence.”

Maybe it's just me, but it seems distressing that nearly 1/4 of American voters seem to think it's more important to avoid offense than to stand up for the First Amendment.

What do you think?  Is it more important to protect Americans' right to free speech or should we compromise to protect Americans from angry, violent extremists?

One last thing…
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