Politics can be a very polarizing area. That is never more true than in an election year.
Both major political parties in US politics tend to make certain points—this year, with attacks on reproductive rights from the GOP and very strong language against same-sex marriage legalization, some of these points are more extreme than ever.
The real problem behind our election system (aside from the fact that democracy itself is a terrifyingly flawed system of government and only our well-crafted Constitution safeguards us from the tyranny of the majority) is not SuperPACS or compulsive lying on the part of certain candidates—it’s the crazies.
The thing about crazies is that they exist in any and all political parties. In the case of, say, white supremacist parties or anarchist parties, they are the parties in question. But both Democrats and Republicans have fringe crazies, and I do not just mean people with far-right or far-left views. The insane members of both sides should alarm you.
Over the past few years in particular, the Democratic Party has, economically, been asking the very wealthy to pay their fair share (which means avoiding tax loopholes that really should not exist in the first place), especially in times of a major financial crisis.
This request has, for some, become the beginning of an attack on “the rich” and a vilification of wealth itself. You guys, I know that not everyone who is wealthy earned their wealth. But some of them did. Many of them did. Being rich is not a cause for shame or for guilt. I want to be rich. In fact, I would love to be one of the one-percent. I just wouldn’t be a dick about it or try to hide my money rather than paying my fair share, just like I did when I worked in a grocery store deli (a glamorous life, as you can imagine).
The Republican Party has, in addition to tightening its position on all matters related to reproductive health (views more extreme than those held by Mitt Romney, in fact), had its fringe members latch on to some of the paranoid and explicitly racist theories about President Obama. Paranoid doubts as to his country of origin and his religious beliefs both have a powerful undercurrent of racism. And it is disturbing.
It is important to realize that neither fringe group represents the parties themselves. The Republican Party is not the Tea Party. If it were, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann might be the pair of running-mates in this election. But we were spared that nightmare by the primaries. Say what you will about Romney and Ryan (and I will say quite a bit; to begin with, they certainly aren’t McCain Republicans), they are not that pair of . . . terrors.
The Democratic Party is not at war with the wealthy. Period.
The real danger here is when the parties themselves begin to lean towards their fringe members in terms of rhetoric, because they want to inspire their voting base and because, honestly, crazier people tend to be a lot louder than sane people and so their views are more likely to come across as those of the majority.
And that is not the case. But it is a troubling thought. Please do not hop aboard the crazy-train. If you hear a political ally of yours talking about crazy things, please call him or her out on it.