Cross Posted from Huffington Post
The last 8 years of the Bush Administration taught us one certainty: There is always a backlash to extremity. Hence the historic election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.
Those who voted to elect George W. Bush in 2000, and most significantly in 2004, enabled him to push this country so radically to the right it made rebellion inevitable.
At Bush's behest, we ended up with a botched war in Afghanistan, an unnecessary war in Iraq, wrong sided tax-cuts, Katrina, warrantless spying on American citizens, a crippled economy, overwhelming job-loss, and over 10 trillion dollars of deficit.
Is that why the vast majority of Americans didn't vote for John McCain? Ya think?
Of course the minuscule remainder of unrepentant Bush supporters will never accept this reality. Rather than give Obama a chance to activate his positive visions of change, unity, and hope for America, these sore losers manipulate their own minds to create irrational scenarios they dread -- oh how they love to abuse themselves. I've heard the whining; "We're going to become a welfare country," "Obama is going to empower all the minorities," "There will be nothing left but section 8 housing and affirmative action," and "We're going to lose in Iraq." Talk about a circular firing squad.
This element isn't unique to the far-right. They're prevalent throughout the far-left as well.
Ralph Nader received 696,728 votes, Bob Barr with 510,177 votes, and Cynthia McKinney managed to garner 152,111 votes. These 3 nonviable candidates received over a million votes combined -- a total of 1.1%. I support Americans voting for 3rd party candidates, but it's so obvious those votes went right in the wastebasket. What is the sense in that?
The ultra-left is against any establishment candidate. They're absolutist and will not negotiate. They make no distinction between those who voted for Obama and those who voted for McCain. They unfairly view Democrats and Republicans to be complicit with many of the disasters created by the Bush Administration.
The best examples to cite are the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition and The World Can't Wait organization. They marched on the Pentagon in March 2007 demanding the impeachment of George W. Bush and an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Someone must have forgotten to tell them that the Department of Defense, our military's headquarters, doesn't hold impeachment hearings nor do they dictate our foreign policy.
Even worse, they accuse police officers who stop them from wreaking havoc on property of government agencies of holding membership in a modern day Gestapo or being direct proxies of Bush creating a police state -- total lunacy.
Every time they conduct an event they plan for maximum impact. If they don't achieve the desired outcome, they'll continuously up the ante. This causes them to appear even more extreme than they already are -- if that's even possible.
They contributed significantly to the decreased credibility of the anti-war movement by alienating the silent majority. What middle-of-the-road American wants to participate in an anti-war protest only to find themselves in an anti Semitic mob scene chanting "free Mumia," "overthrow the government," while wearing Che Guevara t-shirts and waving the Palestinian flag? Not me.
There are far right extremist groups to counter them such as the Free Republic and Move America Forward. They have no ability to look objectively outside the box. They pledge undying loyalty to George W. Bush and neoconservative ideology. If it were possible they would imprison or deport all those who disagree with them -- only they are allowed to be American and support the troops. I've personally been on the receiving end of their vileness. The Freepers (on many occasions) have called me and my fellow Iraq veterans who oppose the war cowards, phonies, and traitors. They even told us we should be sent to Guantanamo.
Eventually these types of groups (on both sides) will fade away into obscurity. They are socially destructive, politically irrelevant, and a speed bump to progress. Hopefully the recent election will hinder their circus act.
If there is any advice that I could give President-elect Obama and members of Congress (of both parties) it's this: Learn from the last 8 years of George W. Bush's failed presidency. His extreme right-wing policies caused the Republicans to self-destruct and emaciated the size of their party in both chambers of Congress.
Now that the Democrats have the White House and a sizeable majority of Congress they should not focus on pushing a leftist agenda (as their predecessors did on the right) that will certainly cause partisan political gridlock. Instead, they should work together with their collegues from the other side of the aisle to get things done for the American people -- it's to their benefit and ours.