Our Era of Political Extremism
Last year James Porter, the recently elected president of the National Rifle Association, declared that President Barack Obama was a “fake president….whose entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, and anti-Second Amendment.”
Last month Adam Kokesh, a failed Republican candidate for Congress from Arizona and a Internet talk show host, declared he would lead a July 4 march in Washington, D.C. of thousands of followers with loaded rifles slung across their backs as a demonstration against “tyranny.”
District law bars private citizens from carrying firearms in public, and city police officials have said they won’t permit such a march. Kokesh said such action would show that “free people are not welcome in Washington, adding that “we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”
If the first term of the Obama presidency proved anything about today’s American political culture, it showed conclusively that we live in an era of conservative extremism.
The assertion of extreme ideas and actions spewing from conservative elected officials, office-seekers, political operatives, talk show hosts, and donors has become so commonplace that it’s sometimes difficult to gauge the depth of this GOP led corrupting of the traditional practice of politics.
There’s seemingly no end to the bizarre notions and tough- guy posturing and outright racism, sexism and homophobia that represent conservatism today. These policies have underscored that conservatism is rooted in callousness, and the more it comes under pressure from the movement toward greater equality of opportunity, the more deranged it becomes.
This perspective on the conservative movement unyielding opposition to anything President Obama proposes, whether it be legislative policies or appointees to the cabinet and federal judgeships, makes his achievements in office all the more impressive.
But it also indicates what grievous damage has been done to the president’s program — and to the American political tradition.