It is time to say ‘no’ to political extremism

Michael Guido, News Editor

Today, the United States is faced with a crisis that seems to be reaching a crescendo: political extremism.
Political extremism has existed in various forms throughout our history.
There have been plenty of examples of movements and politicians fraught with extremist views and tendencies. Yet through moderation, strong-willed leadership and consensus, we have always steered the nation away from the edge of total darkness.
However, recent political fallout cast new light on the dangers that come with electing private citizens with extremist views.
For instance, a major debate erupted in Congress over how to handle freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has expressed support for the right-wing conspiracy theory group QAnon, which has been held partially responsible for the insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6.
QAnon, the group Greene has condoned in the past, believes that a sinister, international cabal of pedophilic Satan-worshippers operate a global child sex-trafficking ring; this all being part of an effort to undermine former President Donald Trump.
The group is of the belief that multiple Hollywood celebrities, Democratic politicians and top-ranking government officials are involved in this conspiracy, including the Clintons, former President Barack Obama, billionaire Democratic donor George Soros and many others.
In the past, Greene voiced skepticism over what events took place during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She also indicated that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were false flag operations as means to institute more gun control, and she insisted prominent politicians should be executed for being a part of the deep state.
Of course, these, like other fringe conspiracy theories such as PizzaGate, are utter rubbish and based in no way on objective facts, evidence or truth.
Another member of Congress with a history of controversial comments is Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has, among other things, alleged that terrorist groups used babies as tools to conduct acts of terror, outed a whistleblower during a congressional hearing and sued former Vice President Mike Pence in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has her own history of controversial remarks and associations.
Waters has had known ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, objected to the certification of the 2000, 2004 and 2016 presidential elections and labeled former President George H.W. Bush a racist.
All this is to say that extremism is becoming an ever more present aspect of our political dialogue, and it is dangerous.
Liberal and conservative factions have, do and will always exist in our political discord and are healthy, as they allow for the interjection of different policies, positions and philosophies in the practice of self-government.
However, as we are now in a position where representatives are being removed from congressional committees for incendiary remarks and pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories as objective fact, perhaps it is time to take a step back and analyze where political extremism is taking us.
Maybe it is time to analyze what kind of people we’re putting into office, into positions of authority, where words matter greatly.
Lastly, maybe it is time to ask ourselves the question, in the face of the ever-present social media atmosphere — how do we use social media as a tool to better educate voters and reduce the risk of extremist rhetoric having a clear lane to dictate how our representatives act?
Do we de-platform individuals who have expressed extremist views over a long period of time? What would and wouldn’t be classified as “extremist views?” How does freedom of speech apply to idea of acceptable censorship?
Frankly, I don’t have those answers.
Despite all that, even in these polarized times, we can all agree on one thing: saying no to political extremism is key.



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