5 bizarre features of American politics that shock people when they first hear about them.

...including one reason people are staying involved despite it all.

Tuning in to American politics for the first time in 2017 is a lot like drinking from a firehose while fighting a grizzly bear and trying to summarize the plot of "Inception" from memory.  

Photos by: Win McNamee/Getty Images (Paul Ryan), Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (Neil Gorsuch, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren), Zach Gibson/Getty Images (James Comey), Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images (Donald Trump), iStock (Supreme Court).

As breaking news and scandals continue to erupt at an Usain Bolt-ish pace, many Americans are experiencing the early days of the Trump administration as a crash course in what makes our government kind-of-but-honestly-not-exactly work, with emphasis on the "crash."

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Before 2017 follows too closely in the footsteps of 2016 as yet another year of divisiveness, filled with Twitter wars and men on TV yelling about "hateful this" and "PC culture that," let's take stock of some things we can all agree on.

An accurate visualization of America right now. Photo via iStock.

From the special-est snowflake liberals to the don't tread on me-est conservatives, these are a bunch of plain and simple agreements that most, if not all, Americans can come to. We're probably not going to hug and sing "Kumbaya" after this, but maybe we can tear down a little bit of that wall that's dividing us. (Then part of it can be a fence!) (See, we're already laughing together.)

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Just before 7 this morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a call to jail or denaturalize anyone who burns the American flag.

As is the case with most things Trump, theories about, well ... why he tweeted this have run the gamut — from an attempt to distract from a report on son-in-law Jared Kushner's conflicts of interest to a devious plan to incite people to actually do it and use the backlash to consolidate his support to a typically impulsive response to something he saw on Fox News.

Regardless, it's a pretty stunning — and frightening — proposal. For a man who wants to make America great again, the tweet demonstrates a complete disregard for what makes America great in the first place: the First Amendment.

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