Wednesday, January 15, 2014

America... The Nation of Extremes

Over the past several decades (at least three), the American political and social landscape has become more radicalized in its nature.  Right down to the simple things are causing people to take radical stances.  I mean right down to a simple, stupid statement.  If one of the last two Presidents of the United States pointed at a barn, Bush said it was red, liberals would be screaming that the barn was not actually red, but some shade of it, like Vermilion.  If Obama said the barn was Scarlett, conservatives would scream it was red.  Pretty simple stuff right there.  The damn barn is red, we don't need to fight over it for three weeks, develop some twisted conspiracies about how the barn was actually white, but someone painted it after the President said it was red.

We repeat this same stupid behavior in everything.  We are a nation of extremes, we can't do anything middle of the road, no we have to go from one extreme to another.  Just look at the political cycles.  We went from a liberal (Carter) to a conservative (Reagan) to a moderate to slightly right president in Bush, Sr, to Clinton a moderate liberal, then Bush two a hard core conservative, to Obama a moderate liberal.  Before the Reagan and Bush election, no new elected president had been from the same political party in over a hundred years.  That means that for nearly half our our countries existence we went from one party to another, liberal to conservative ideas, very little continuity.

But it is something much deeper than this.  Take anything political in nature.  Social Security, welfare, SNAP, budget concerns, gun control, what have you.  We tend to take very polar views.  Everyone is either moderate when it comes to politics, or we are at the extreme opposite of each other, with a small handful of people being moderate.  The fact is, many refuse to accept the concept that we are not entirely conservative or liberal in political or economic matters.  Some things we are liberal on, others we are conservative on.  I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and can otherwise be identified as a socialist liberal, until you start looking at gun rights, then I head off into right wing territory.  

But we do this with other things.  I do not have a problem with wanting the most out of life.  It is a driving force of sorts.  It keeps many people moving forward in the worst times of their life.  But here is the thing, this radicalization goes beyond political or economic views.  We do this with every aspect of our lives.  If we are religious, we tend to go to the extreme of it, when it suits us.  If we do not have faith, we tend to become militant atheists.  When we deal with money, we either spend it life it is going out of style, or we horde it.  When it comes to video games, we are either hardcore gamers or we simply do not care.  Even I am like this.  Right now, I went from starting a blog to express my thoughts and opinions every couple of days to putting something down everyday, sometimes two or three times.  In much the same way, when I know something is the truth, I will brow beat people with it, showing no mercy.  Think about yourself for a moment.  How often do you show extremes in behavior?