Election season

When we're in the thick of it, it can seem like politics can bring about the worst in us.

The name-calling. The truth-spinning. The arguing and stereotyping. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand, chances are that if you care about the direction of this country, you've probably been irritated or frustrated by the political speak and the negative campaigning we've seen in the 2012 election year.

Now that both national conventions are behind us, the home stretch for the presidential race has begun.

And it's only likely that the heat will be turned up a few notches before November.

But you know what's great about the election process? We're free to do it.

Our political speech isn't reviewed and approved by the government. We can show our anger with our leaders; we can protest; we can donate to a political party; we can choose. We're invited into the process, and it's our duty to make the most of it.

Of course our system has flaws, but at least we're free to talk about them and address them.

Some will argue that the national conventions were more like pep rallies than anything that promotes legitimate progress or change. There's some truth to that. But it's great that our people are so passionate about the direction of this nation. It's a good thing that people care enough to cheer or shout at their television sets. At the end of the election season, the hope is that reason, common sense and fairness will prevail for the betterment of the country.

Presidential debates are set up for Oct. 3, 16 and 22.

If you haven't yet decided who you will be voting for, that will be a good opportunity to see how both Mitt Romney and President Obama address questions. If you have already decided on your vote, well, you're probably going to be watching anyway.

Here's to an educated and well-informed electorate. And the passion is just fine, too.