Extremism: The holding of extreme political or religious views or the taking of extreme actions on the basis of those views. (Encarta Dictionary)
There are various types of extremist, in every country on the globe. Every society has their kooks, you might say. As far as I’m concerned, anyone or any group has a right to believe however they wish to believe when it comes to religion or politics, as long as they don’t try forcing those beliefs on me or the rest of the populace.
The problem with some extremist though, just having their own differences with the rest of society is not enough, they must also work to see that the rest of us either believe the way they do or at least are forced to accept laws and edicts they would have us to follow.
In the midterm elections in 2010, our Congress and many of our state houses across the country were bombarded by historical proportions of extremist from the conservative corners of the nation. The reason for this bombardment was an event that took place two years earlier, in the presidential race. Not only did Republicans lose legislative seats across the country, they also lost the White House to the first black president.
There were some Republicans that respected the significance of the first African-American president but there were still many who resented it.
The GOP was desperate as they had lost so much. I believe the most desperate were those who were behind the Republican Party’s platform and that was the super wealthy interests that funded the Republicans’ political campaigns. It is those very interests that have sought to create a government that caters to their every whim, as far as tax cuts that favored wealthier Americans and deregulation of the financial markets along with weakening of pollution controls.
The Republican Party itself was fighting for survival at this point and to survive, they had a choice to make. That choice was to either move more to the middle as far as their political platform and widen their tent, or move further to the right by feeding on the frenzy built up by the extremist wing of their party, given to them by the election of a black president. They chose the latter.
Enter the Tea Party. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin I believe had so much to do with the beginning of the Tea Party movement. She had already been introduced to the country as the vice president on the Republican 2008 presidential ticket and she gained many fans that were much like her and represented a wide swath of very conservative-leaning members of the Republican Party electorate.
Then there were the big moneyed interest of the super wealthy, such as the Koch brothers of Koch industries that funded much of the so-called grass-roots of the Tea Party. Without their help, the Tea Party movement may have never taken off like it did. I believe those super wealthy interests used the Tea Party movement as a means to an end. With the 2010 midterm election in their pockets, I venture that they developed a strategy to block any efforts by Democrats to erode any of the long fought for deregulation on the financial markets and the tax cuts that they so desperately had worked diligently for to become permanent.
Republican lawmakers will rebut the idea that bigotry and racism played a large part in the forming of the Tea Party, and they will continue to ignore the racism that has arisen since they took the House of Representatives in 2010. The extreme elements of their party have turned our congress into a weakened body of government that cannot function and our state houses into legislators of prejudice and robbers of democracy.
Republican lawmakers may talk about jobs to the American public but the legislation they have worked on since their takeover has not been about jobs. The new Republican Party since 2010 is now about abortion restrictions, Voter ID laws, laws and state constitutional amendments to block same-sex marriage, laws to strip union workers of their collective bargaining rights and their salaries and benefits. Along with those laws, tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires and deregulation of the financial markets and pollution control laws.
We as a nation have entered a moment in our history that we must make a choice; we can continue to allow those who turn our government into a two-horse machine: one that metes out an extreme social justice upon our society, robbing us of the very freedom we have fought for; and the other, a powerful, crushing military to destroy whatever it perceives to be a threat.
Or we can choose to have a two-party system government that works together to find solutions, to have respect for each other, even when they disagree. Extremism has no place in a government that should be balanced and fair for all. Uncompromising forces go nowhere, yet balance will bring back harmony that was once lost.
Maybe what the GOP needs more than ever now is a little humility, and then maybe they can see clearly to find their way back to the middle.