Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Extremists In Our Path, And American's Recent (and past) Reactions

If you haven't watched the Ken Burns documentary about prohibition, may I suggest that you do. Hands down this is one of the finest explorations of American extremism ever produced on film. The faith-based groups and anti-saloon leagues were bent on Americans adopting, not a new, but THEIR moral code. One that had good intentions (stay sober, forever), but didn't take into account that America is a land of moderates, and a middle allowing itself to be pushed left or right only so much.

There is one key moment in the film where the commentators made an interesting point: the anti-booze organizations eventually became the thing American's wanted to ban more than liquor. They became so extreme, and so inflexible that their very existence became un-American (intolerant).
As I watched the film, I kept thinking about other extremist/radical groups in America. My thoughts centered on the obvious: the Tea Party.

Over the weekend, at a Tea Party rally, a Tea Party activist made an outrageous comment saying "Obama put the Quran down, get off your knees..." I need not go on, as you can watch for yourself. But this is awful, and extremism at its worst... 

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The debt ceiling debate and the government shut down highlight a highjacked Republican party. Tea Party extremists have taken over the moderate and intellectual voices of the Republican party. Replacing it is a self-centered group of people willing to go along with ideals that aren't generally American. Just like in the Prohibition movie, there was a point when Americans had had enough. I believe we've reached that point. The new NBC/WSJ poll demonstrates my point, precisely.

NBC political director, Chuck Todd, showcases the poll results...
But more striking than this is the fact that more people have an unfavorable view of the tea party than ever before (very negative view: 34% in Oct vs 19% very negative view in June 2010). To me this illustrates a tipping point... All it will take is a leader to say, enough is enough. To put a finer point on it we need to recall Senator Joe McCarthy's Communist hearings, where finally after years and years of accusations, Joe Welch Special Council for the Army confronted McCarthy's extremism outright!

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