Following this health care debate through the Supreme Court ruling last week taught me a lot about my friends. I had no idea how many constitutional scholars I followed on Twitter or shared a Facebook friendship with. They all know exactly where Chief Justice John Roberts went wrong in his ruling.

People who are too ignorant to explain why they support a certain candidate or hold a certain belief are forced to demonize and vilify their opponents.

George W. Bush may have been too quick to go to war and he might have been willing to take away some privacy rights in order to fight terrorism. But he was no fascist.

Barack Obama believes that a national health care system that helps insure the 30 million Americans who currently have no coverage is a good idea. But he is no socialist.

To say otherwise in either case is a complete misunderstanding of both fascism and socialism.

Following this health care debate through the Supreme Court ruling last week taught me a lot about my friends. I had no idea how many constitutional scholars I followed on Twitter or shared a Facebook friendship with.

They all know exactly where Chief Justice John Roberts went wrong in his ruling. Of course, these same people also believe those quotes they put up from Abraham Lincoln about corporations or how you shouldn’t give power to the powerless are actually quotes from Lincoln.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook just because it is next to a cartoon figure.” (He really was forward thinking.)

Here is a tip –– it is free and probably worth what you will pay for it:
When you discuss politics in public, try to be reasonable. Contrary to the beliefs of Fox News personalities and Rush Limbaugh, saying the most outlandish thing possible doesn’t make you right.

The health care bill ruling didn’t eradicate your freedom –– not even in Alaska. You will find people more willing to engage you in discussions when you are able to understand that you really agree on about 90 percent of issues, even with people from whom you are far removed on the political spectrum.

We have to stop using our few disagreements to divide us and start allowing the vast majority of issues on which we agree to unite us and help us to work together for our common good.

Replace your passion with compassion. Disagree without being disagreeable. And while you’re at it, only use quotes you can verify to support your points.

Your friends will thank you.