I don’t like extremism. I’m not so far left that I can’t recognize left wing extremism and I will acknowledge that sometimes I cringe at their antics. I have remarked, “You know you might be taken more seriously if you weren’t in a thong with a feather boa while protesting the chemical plant.”
Usually, the far left stages dramatic support for people, things and policies that they feel would otherwise lack a significant voice; the environment, children, animals, the impoverished. Or they protest war. Usually, it’s an event where some protestors might maneuver a tugboat in front of a whaler, or put flowers in the muzzle of a rifle.
Or, they’ll sleep in a tree to keep it from being cut down (there is a reason, after all, they are called “Tree Huggers”). Their method is designed to bring attention to a civil cause.
I usually agree with their premise, especially with environmental and human rights issues, but I must admit I’ve never dressed as a baby seal to lie across the steps of city hall. I would’ve joined the “Occupy” protest, but in my town it wasn’t more than a half dozen people spending a little time before dinner carrying placards in front of a Wells Fargo ATM.
But the far-lefties, with all their flamboyant pageantry, don’t scare me…. not like the extremists on the far right.
The extremists on the right dress up in fatigues and run drills in the forest carrying AK-47’s. They preach for theocracy and obstinate foreign policy. One of them took his concept of agrarian liberty so far that he blew up a federal building killing hundreds of innocent souls, including children. A few have murdered doctors who had performed abortions.
Believe me, I understand that they are fringe and do not represent the majority of the right wing or even most other extremists, but the trouble is that I can’t tell the difference until they carry out their crime.
And I’m not turning a blind eye to “The Weathermen” and “Students for a Democratic Society” who cropped up in the late 60’s and were as angry as any reactionaries can be. While militance seemed to be a part of the national fabric in those days it was still dangerous and many consequences undermined their own objectives.
Anger, whether from the left or right, can make people feel stronger and can turn into righteous indignation which can then lead to absolving oneself of heinous acts…like blowing up buildings or murdering doctors.
Extremists have to include those that call themselves “Birthers.” They aren’t violent, but their agenda is not to protect anyone or anything as it is for my friends dressed as seals, rather it is demagoguery to challenge the fact that someone became President who wasn’t a white, conservative, male.
In their on-going quest to prove that Obama is not a US citizen by birth and, thereby cannot actually be our President, they are no different than Black Helicopter conspiracy theorists or UFO chasers who uncover new X Files; their mission was drawn before a shred of investigation and everything they uncover only supports a foregone conclusion. It is evidence hatched from hearsay from other conspiracy theorists.
That’s my problem with the Tea Baggers, too. Their commitment to truth is just as thin and often I can’t tell them apart from the extremists who allow their anger to go too far.
Yet, many candidates in the Republican Party continue to court them and they are actually dictating the direction of the party; writing a contentious platform which castigates anyone who attempts bi-partisan cooperation.