Political Extremists: The Lions in a Circus Act

clyde beatty lion tamer

Political extremists are a rather odd lot. They think they’re mainstream when they’re not.

In a commentary published by The Washington Times, Joseph Curl writes, “This is, of course, the “Silly Season” — the dog days of summer when almost no regular people are paying attention to politics and those who are flirt with some oddballs.”

Absent a Ringling Brothers Circus to go to, folks enjoy the antics of political extremists. For example, people are flocking to events featuring Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, as if the two were modern-day prophets. Are Sanders and Trump really that good, or are people merely enthralled by the untamed protein filaments on the top of the two’s heads? After all, some folks are just wild about hairy.
Trump and Sanders

Sanders and Trump aren’t the only political extremists making national news. Recently, the Oklahoma GOP landed in hot water after it posted a controversial statement on Facebook. A July 15th story in the Tulsa World states, “The Oklahoma Republican Party is again the center of controversy, this time following a social media posting comparing welfare recipients to animals.”

Here is the Facebook post that the story refers to.*
Oklahoma GOP Facebook post

Now, the current chairman of the Oklahoma GOP has upped the ante. A July 25th Tulsa World story reports the following.

Oklahoma should ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision and outlaw all forms of abortion immediately, state Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said Friday.

“The federal courts don’t have the authority to make us kill babies,” Brogdon said. “Are the Supreme Court justices going to come down to Oklahoma and make us stop?”

Granted, people on the right end of the political spectrum don’t have a monopoly on extremism. In June of 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against an extremist act committed by President Obama. A Washington Post story about that decision states this:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority in making high-level government appointments in 2012 when he declared the Senate to be in recess and unable to act on the nominations.

Obama made appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at a time when the Senate was holding pro forma sessions every three days precisely to thwart the president’s ability to exercise the power.

“The Senate is in session when it says it is,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court, stressing that if the Senate is able to conduct business, that is enough to keep the president from making recess appointments.

Some extremists on the political left haven’t reacted well to SCOTUS losses by the Executive Branch during Mr. Obama’s tenure as POTUS. In a commentary titled “The Supreme Court’s Relentless War Against President Obama“, Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes, “Past presidents have generally gotten most of what they want from the high court. According to Adam Winkler, UCLA constitutional law professor, on average they presidents have won about 70 percent of the cases the court’s decided that their administration backed. Obama is not even close to that number.”**

Apparently, Hutchinson has surmised that the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court are at war against President Obama, despite the fact that liberal members of the Court have also voted against positions taken by the Obama Administration.

Then again, political extremists tend to engage in histrionics whenever a SCOTUS ruling goes against whatever they favor. Such was the case during the 2000 presidential election when the Court ruled in Bush v. Gore that the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was being violated in an attempt to enable Gore to win in Florida. Left-wing extremists wanted Gore to win so badly that they were willing to overlook a violation of the U.S. Constitution as long as Gore won. Even today, some extremists continue to make the false claim that the Court gave the 2000 election to Bush.

Whether they be on the far left or the far right, political extremists don’t hesitate to use ad hominem against anyone who refuses to join them in their extremist echo chambers.

Political Extremism

Like lion tamers, folks in the political mainstream have to face the extremists instead of running away from them. Members of the political left need to confront the far-left extremists, while members of the political right need to confront the far-right extremists. Such extremism is a poison that harms liberals, moderates and conservatives alike.

It is reasonable for people to engage in political debates, but such debates don’t need to be turned into a circus act.

Political extremists might roar like circus lions, but in reality they are house cats with an exaggerated sense of self grandeur.

Cat sees lion in mirror

Originally posted at The Moderate Voice.


* Oklahoma GOP chairman Randy Brogdon has offered an apology for the above-reported Facebook post.

** This author realizes that some of his examples of extremism are considered to be “old” news. Nevertheless, those examples illustrate that no one political party has a monopoly on extremism.

Featured Image: Clyde Beatty taming a lion with a chair. From George Brinton Beal Papers, Circus Collection, and Other Theatrical Collections, 1862-1969 (MS Thr 675). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/how-to-focus

Bottom Image: Cat sees lion in mirror. From http://www.medicalfitnesspros.com/how-do-you-see-yourself

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