I'm American - a citizen of the United States of America. I love my country and its ideals dearly; I think that the ideas embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in the Declaration of Independence and the writings of our Founding Fathers and Mothers, that all people are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, are wonderful ideas, ideas which all people should support, because only by treating everyone as our equals can we become better than we are.
I'm a liberal. I think health care is good, and people who are poor should be helped not spat upon, and if I have to pay taxes, well, that sucks, but they help everyone, including me, because they support emergency rooms and roads and sewage systems and all sorts of other useful things. I think women should control their own bodies and gay and lesbian people should marry whom they please, with all the legal rights and privileges attached to that state.
I would like to say this to my political opponents: I think you are wrong. That's why we're opponents. I think some of your ideas are actively harmful, and others are passively harmful. But I also believe that you have reasons to hold those ideas, and I would rather like to sit down with you and discuss this like civilized beings. Perhaps there are things we can agree on. Perhaps there are things we must agree to disagree on. Perhaps there are things I will think you are right about, and perhaps there are things you will think I am right about.
But I cannot do this - I cannot sit down with you, O hypothetical rational political opponent of mine, and discuss our differences like civilized beings, because as far as I can tell, the people who hold views in political opposition to mine also think that I and the others who believe as I do ought to be rounded up and shot like rats in a trap. I do not care for this view. I do not think my political opponents ought to be shot - voted out of office, yes. Debated publicly, yes. Disproved scientifically, yes. But not shot. Because that is not how democracy works. Democracy is a civilized system, and that means WE DO NOT GO AROUND SHOOTING EACH OTHER WHEN WE DISAGREE. Okay?