WOULD SOMEONE CALL a timeout? Before the social and economic divisions in this country take us to a breaking point, we all need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: What kind of world do we want to live in?

We need to step back and realize that life is too short to waste this much time on trivial disputes. This rancor can’t be good and it is hard to see how it can end well if we continue down this slippery slope.

By almost any gauge, these are the greatest of times to be alive in history. We are on the verge of incredible innovations and discoveries, yet here we are finding fault with so many things, and all we do is want more and claim to be victims of some conspiracy.

So, why are millions of disgruntled citizens marching and protesting? Many are even protesting partisan gerrymandering. Unhappy voters are contending that entrenched representatives are choosing their constituents rather than the other way around.

Neil Panosian, a West Allis postal worker, author and motivational speaker, put things into perspective when he asked “If you had mere minutes left before your life expired, what would you want to share? Would you want to ask questions? Tell someone you love them, say you are sorry or say thank you?

“Maybe you would apologize for wasting so much time in anger and sadness instead of enjoying the life you had. Perhaps you would regret spending all of your time trying to achieve goals, and failing to notice and appreciate all of the beauty around you.”

When you consider the limited time we have here, do we really want to spend it filled with hate and jealousy? Does it make sense to be obsessed with the trials and tribulations tied to class warfare, inequality, sexism, racism, envy and greed?

Instead of all the petty bickering, we should be putting our vast collective knowledge and experience into trying to solve problems and to achieving our national goals. The leadership should be coming from our nation’s capitol.

Everywhere we turn today there is animosity, toxicity and selfishness. Our time and resources are being wasted on these negative vibes and this is causing us additional grief and sorrow.

Every day, angry political hacks and pundits go on national news shows and call for new investigations. Debates are laced with unfounded accusations, and calls for impeachment and censorship. People who call for compromise are vilified by the left and the right.

Many Americans are losing their optimism. We keep believing our government leaders will wise up, do the right thing, work in harmony and choose to be functional. We want them to conduct the nation’s business with dignity and respect, and make partisanship a top priority.

We accept the fact we’re a multicultural and diverse country with many different ideas, but we also realize partisanship has its limits. We can’t function when the only focus is what’s best for us, and our only mission is to do and say whatever it takes to gain control and power.

Every day, we see members of congress and representatives of the president fighting. One side is trying to go right, the other side is committed to going left. Imagine if that energy was harnessed and both sides pulled together.

Obstruction and disruption have become the new normal. The strategy for both parties is to create chaos, divide Americans in every way and pit them against each other. They even go so far to encourage unrest and pander to the various factions.

The political process is being driven not by those in the broad (centrist) center, but by those in the more narrow and partisan ideological bases of the two parties. They need to accept the fact they can’t always get everything they want. These selfish party bases flex their muscles by holding vital legislation hostage.

This attitude is beyond stubborn and damaging, it is detrimental to America attaining and maintaining greatness on the world stage. We should not be divided into Democrats and Republicans on major issues and challenges. Can’t we just be Americans?

If you watch our representatives in action, you have to conclude that congress is clearly a hostile workplace. How do good and decent people go there and perform the way they do? Is that the way politics is supposed to work?

Every two-year election cycle reminds us of just how dysfunctional our government is. Neither side is willing to move the ball forward for fear the other side might gain momentum and get the credit. Maybe that is why more than 60 current members of Congress are not running for re-election to their office?

The party out of the majority puts all efforts into disrupting the system. Lives, careers and reputations are sacrificed in an effort to win elections. An army of special counsels are assembled to investigate and discredit the opposition.

Americans have to wonder if the accusations of sinister activities made against our elected and appointed officials are true or just distractions for political purposes. If proven true, we have a political system infested with very despicable people.

Just like the composition of America, congress is composed of liberals, progressives, conservatives and moderates. President Donald Trump is the wild card. His stance changes almost every day and that doesn’t help. He seems to embrace the drama.