You'd have to be a hermit in a cave to be unaware that an election is just a week away.

We've been bombarded with political ads, many more, it seems than in past presidential elections.

Newspapers, including this one, are cramming in election news. With the vote so near, the presidential campaigns for both major parties have cranked up the noise to rock show levels.

The bitterness of the top-of-the-ticket battle is clear and the split between Democrats and Republicans has gotten ever deeper. The 2009 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has increased dramatically the cash for the sort of attack ads that seem now to run at every commercial break.

The court ruled in that decision that the First Amendment essentially allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they like - or have, for that matter - to support or attack candidates or positions so long as the groups buying the ads are independent of the candidates they support. Groups on both sides of the political spectrum have taken the decision to heart and are spending outrageous amounts to push their own agendas, blanketing entire states with their propaganda.

We hope that the electorate is smarter than that. Assertions fly but facts ... well, it would be nice if even those weren't up for dispute.

The messes we've made will be cleaned up only through bipartisan efforts. That means talking to people on the other side.