If you want proof that this is one really fucked up country, and that some of the people who inhabit it are indefensible morons, all you have to do is ready the following two articles from Think Progress:
National Review Writers Defend County Whose Subscription-Only Firefighters Watched Home Burn Down.
All I have to say is: If we have to subscribe to firefighting services, what on earth are we paying taxes for: corporate welfare and wars? In that case, I might add, sign me in for opt-in corporate welfare and opt-in military. I loath the former, and on the latter you don't even want to get me started.
The second article should be all you ever need to convince your Republican, Libertarian and teabagging friends that voting Republican is, in essence, like kissing your money, jobs, and freedom away. It describes the fact that Mike Pence, a contender for the 2012 Republican nomination for the presidency, believes that the way to fix the economy is to keep gays from marrying.
Just so we're clear, the problem is not that there are people who promote stupid ideas, such as that you should opt-in for firefighting services or that preventing gays from marrying is as much of a national priority as fixing the economy. The problem is that there is quite a large number of people who vote for candidates who promote those ideas. In any country that was not a Banana Republic, such candidates would be laughed out of debates, and kicked out of political parties.
It's getting increasingly harder to feel any pride for being Americans.