First, as the Democratic opinion columnist, let me say congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election to the presidency. I’m proud to say that I voted for him because I believe in what he has done and what he can do.
Now, the one true thing that I think ALL Americans should be able to take from this election was a rebuke of extremism. Congress has been plagued by ideologues on right and on the left, and even in the middle.
The divide in Congress is unworkable. If I hear one more person – not just a politician say that someone who happens to disagree with them “hates America” or “wants to destroy this country,” I might actually follow through with a threat to move to Canada. This isn’t me being coy — I truly do not understand how politics can cause rational humans to devolve so quickly into schoolyard name-calling. It honestly baffles me.
I’m not going to call you a fascist Nazi, so don’t call me a commie pinko. So much of what I hear is “look how much Obama divided this country.” No. Neither did Bush or anyone else. People b*tching about not getting their way when democracy doesn’t do what they wanted is what divides a country. Quit yelling at me, Bill O’Reilly!
Extremism from the middle would seem oxymoronic. But that’s what I believe comes from some of the Libertarian positions. The idea that a third-party candidate would be viable is frankly an extreme idea to me. This is a two-party system and it’s worked for all of our country’s history. More parties would seem to add to divisiveness, not unity.
And as for the GOP establishment, I suggest it takes this election defeat as a call for reflection. Are you going to continue to be the party that alienates? To continue as a party and to have the support of the nation, you cannot ignore one-half of the country and favor the other in word or in policy. To provide superfluous economic benefits to those who are already well off or to take benefits away from or impose more burdens on the middle and lower classes will win you few votes. To remain obstinate in denying the right to marry to an entire population of people is more than extreme. It will put you on the wrong side of history.
I’m not saying we all have to be best friends or any of that hippie stuff. Nor do we have to play nice all of the time. People will always disagree on issues, especially the political ones. Escape from extremism in both money and society is what formed this country. Let us all avoid giving others a cause to do the same.