Any crusade that is far removed from the ordinary is considered extreme, and it is not often that a movement seeks to steer an entire society to exceed the bounds of moderation, especially when the extreme means devolving into a dark time in history. In places like Iran and Afghanistan, religious zealots seized power and instituted harsh laws that harken to Dark Ages mentality that served to arrest progress and enslave the population, and one could hardly imagine that eventuality ever happening in America. In 2009, the notion of an African American man in the White House attempting to help 30 million Americans gain access to affordable healthcare incited an extremist movement that, two years later, seized control of one house of Congress and several state legislatures, and America is on the verge of lurching back to an era that will rival Afghanistan under Taliban rule or the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pundits point to the rise of the Tea Party as the defining moment of America’s de-evolution, but although teabaggers were instrumental in retarding decades of progress, they had implicit assistance from the leaders of the Republican Party and Christian fundamentalists. Over the past three years, Republicans attempted, and often succeeded, to make governing this country impossible despite the perilous economic conditions resulting from their malfeasance during the Bush administration, and news that they planned to obstruct any recovery on Inauguration night 2009 was hardly a surprise, but since the 2010 midterm elections, America has been beleaguered by lunatics in Congress and state houses that rival the secession of the Southern Confederacy that started the American Civil War.
It is not that extremist positions have been necessarily successful that is frightening, but that sitting Congressional representatives and candidates for high office are openly touting agendas that can only be considered as preposterous, and portend a perilous future for the United States of America if they are successful. There have always been crackpots and unreasonable sycophants pursuing policies that repulse normal human beings, but at this juncture in America, the crackpots are close to controlling the very government that they are bound and determined to destroy. Don’t believe it? Then consider some of the proposals being proffered by right-wing extremists.
In Missouri, a candidate for the United States Senate suggested that it was time to “overturn” the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act prohibits states from “discriminating on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group” as a result of the Civil Rights Act “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.” Republican Todd Akin believes states have the right to determine who gets to vote and according to him “it’s a good principle” to allow states to enact their own voting laws. Akin also believes the National School Lunch Program should be abolished because according to him, “the federal government should be out of the education business.”
Candidate for congress, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher said while campaigning in Arizona that, “I’m running for Congress, put up a fence and troops on the border and start shooting, I bet that solves our immigration problem real quick.” There have always been racists who quietly support all-out war against non-whites, but the extreme position would have been the death knell of a candidacy if it ever became public knowledge in the past, but that was before an African American man proposed giving every American access to affordable healthcare insurance. In fact, there are not-so-quiet rumblings of a coming race war that has driven assault weapon sales through the ceiling and a frightening increase in armed militias and hate groups throughout the country.
After the gay community struggled to gain victories and a semblance of equal rights across the country, the Republican Party in Montana wanted to make homosexuality illegal as part of their party platform, and regardless of the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision that invalidated anti-sodomy laws, there are still 14 states where sodomy is “illegal,” plus four other states where sodomy is illegal only if you’re gay. However, the extremism is not limited to backwater states and religious homophobes.
The presumptive Republican candidates for president and vice-president envision a two-pronged attack that will shut down family planning clinics nationwide as part of their attempt to ban contraception. Women’s health clinics that rely on federal funding for family planning get most of their funding from Medicaid, the health care program for low-income people, pregnant women, and infants, and the decades old program known as Title X, that are being targeted by Willard Romney and Paul Ryan for drastic cuts. The two extremists are following the lead of Texas and Wisconsin where governors Rick Perry and Scott Walker blocked clinics from receiving critical funding, and their plans to eliminate funding at the federal levels means that every state in the Union would have to close down family planning clinics in their drive to make women into perpetual birthing machines. Last week, Citadel Catholic Media put out a video titled “Women Belong In The Home Making Babies, Not In College,” and it is part of the religious right’s attempt to place women in their biblical position as birth machines stuck at home in subjection to men.
The extremist proposals are not limited to legislation, and it was only a year-and-a half ago that a sitting representative in Congress and a candidate for Senate suggested armed insurrection against the federal government was necessary to prevent federal laws from being enforced. There have been calls to end student loans, eliminate the Department of Education, abolish the minimum wage, eliminate child labor laws, and end Medicare and Social Security in privatization scams to enrich the wealthy and Wall Street. In several states the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) enacted harsh anti-Democratic voter laws in an attempt to hijack elections for Republican candidates. The “courageous” Paul Ryan budget cuts Medicaid by one-third, throws over 10-million families off the SNAP (food stamp) program, and cuts federal Pell Grants for one-million low-income students in what is an extreme measure to provide greater tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
Extremism is always the result of twisted ideology, and since 2009, the extremism has been founded on opposition to an African American President whose signature legislation gave 30-million Americans access to affordable health insurance. The Affordable Care Act was not an extremist idea when the Heritage Foundation devised the plan for a Republican response to Hillary Clinton’s attempt at providing universal healthcare for all Americans in the 1990s. The opposition was not due to concerns about the deficit either because from 2001 to the end of 2008, the Republican mantra was “deficits don’t matter.” However, suddenly, on January 20, 2009 when an African American was inaugurated as President, deficits mattered and the Republican Party declared war on the United States government and the people. They are on a tear to destroy the federal government to hand control over to a very small group of extremely wealthy corporations putting America one election away from following Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran as the most extreme, but wealthiest, most technologically advanced, and biblically-oriented nation on the face of the Earth; and all because a Black man is sitting in the Oval Office and had the audacity to champion giving 30-million Americans access to affordable healthcare insurance, and it provoked the most extreme outrage in the history of our nation.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.