Americans go to the polls Tuesday.

Who would question that this is not just another election?

We’re fighting for our nation’s soul. For what we believe freedom is about. Or if we really care to be free.

In most elections, we’re all pretty much on the same page about who we are as a nation. The debate is about details concerning how it’s going to be managed. This year, the debate is about what page we’re on.

New data from Gallup shows how polarized we’ve become.

In 1994, 40 percent identified as conservative, 48 percent as moderate and 12 percent as liberal. Now, 48 percent say they’re conservative, 32 percent moderate and 20 percent liberal.

Sixteen points have been lopped off the moderate category, half of them moving to the conservative right and half moving to the liberal left. The middle has collapsed, with the nation clearly leaning right.

Americans are clearer now about what they think is right and wrong. This is not a time of gray ambiguity.

The intellectual bankruptcy of the Left is too evident. We hear no ideas, no substance. No attempt to explain why the massive expansion of government has not been the elixir promised to fix our wheezing, gasping economy but has made things worse.

Instead, we’re getting personal attacks. The tea partiers are nuts, kooks, fascists, racists.

Rob Reiner, appearing on Bill Maher’s show the other day, likened the tea-party movement to the emergence of Nazis and Hitler in Germany in the 1930s. They’re “angry and frightened,” selling “stupidity and ignorance,” said Reiner, as Maher nodded in agreement.

If Reiner got out of the wealthy left-wing Hollywood bubble he lives in, he might see what is going on in his own state of California and gain some appreciation of what’s driving the tea-party movement.

Get the definitive account describing the rebirth of appreciation for liberty across the nation, Whistleblower magazine’s “THE GREAT AWAKENING: How tea partiers are setting a new course for America”

California’s unemployment rate, at 12.4 percent, is more than 20 percent higher than the national average.

So far this year, 158 companies have packed up and left the state. Earlier this year, a survey of 600 CEOs ranked the Golden State as the worst state in the country in which to do business.

California is overtaxed, overregulated and overunionized, with a state legislature that uses the state’s citizens and businesses like an ATM machine. As a result, it is an economic and fiscal basket case.

According to the Wall Street Journal, last month California led the nation in job losses at 63,500. During the same month, Texas gained 4,000 jobs.

Over the last year, Texas added 153,000 new jobs while California lost 43,700.

The rental fee for a U-Haul truck from L.A. to Houston is $2,279 – two and a half times the rate from Houston to L.A., $892.

The Journal sums things up, pointing out that among the reasons Texas thrives while California sputters is because it is a right-to-work state – workers can’t be forced to join a union – and it has no income tax, giving it a 10-percent cost advantage over California.

It’s not ideology. It’s fact. Economies grow and thrive where markets are free, private property protected and government limited. It’s true in Texas and true all over the world.

It’s no mystery why the American economy is gasping for air. In the last two years, the federal government has been pumped up from taking 20 percent of our economy to 25 percent.

Trillions of dollars in debt have been piled on to pass on to our children and grandchildren to finance an expansive liberal fantasy that it’s government that creates jobs rather than free people. That it is government that solves problems and produces – rather than free, creative individuals.

Sure, hardworking Americans are afraid. They are afraid that our country and the American dream will be lost forever. But the movement under way, that surely will find expression this Tuesday, is about linking prosperity and freedom back up.

Rob Reiner was appropriately named “meathead” in the TV series that made him famous.

No, meathead, it’s not about fear. It’s about freedom.

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