A Rodney King moment?

Saturday June 30, 2012

Isn't it time for reasonable Americans to reject the radical right wing of our national politics, which has dominated most ongoing debates for years by blaring the loudest, simplest most extreme message over and over?

The Supreme Court decision this week, upholding the Obama administration's health reform act, should be a moment for everyone to reflect on where we've been headed since the election of Barack Obama and the outsized rage that prompted radical thoughts, words and deeds among so many on the right.

For one, we've become almost numb to daily, relentless, overwhelming spin from both conservative and liberal flaks on every issue relating to social issues and the role of government. But make no mistake, it is the far right, fueled by billionaire and corporate donors, that has radicalized these debates, forcing a reluctant left to respond in kind.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, it was the left that went off the rails, prompting every anti-government, anti-military, anti-business radical to express -- and sometimes act upon -- whatever wacko philosophy popped into his or her head. Today, however, it is the right that has lost it. The sooner most Americans realize how extreme are the views they are tossing out -- with zero chance of succeeding in a real world democracy -- the sooner we can move on as a nation, by compromising.

Specifically, government is not the answer in all cases and it also is not the enemy. Government is better at some things and the private business sector is better at some things. Melding those roles so that both are as effective as anything created by human beings can be is, and always has been, the ideal.

Taxes also are not evil, but excessive or unfair or poorly designed taxes should be opposed. Yet the goal should be to change the format while recognizing that taxes are a civic responsibility.

It is time for Americans to grow up and stop listening to the irresponsible radicals -- such as those now dominating in the House of Representatives and in a number of state legislatures -- who are pandering to the selfish and bankrupting state and federal governments. Some the of the anti-tax ranting we've endured is plain nut talk, but we can't just zone it out; we have to reject it.

Government and government officials need to be watched carefully, but so does the business sector. The press and the public are responsible for the former, and government and the public for the latter. Constant reform in both areas should be our goal, not adherence to simplistic dogmas expressed by fruitcakes mostly concerned with promoting their own political careers.

After being unjustly beaten by police in 1991, Rodney King famously asked -- while race riots tore Los Angeles apart -- that everyone just try to get along. It sometimes seems that America has been beaten with nightsticks and someone has to tell everyone to reject extremism and try to get along, for the good of all.


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