Political extremes: How far is too far?

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For every action there is an equal opposite reaction. I think this falls under the laws of physics or parenting. Either way, it seems to hold up. People just are not wired to sit back and take crap they do not agree with no matter who is throwing it at them or how much it hurts. Some respond immediately while others stew and plot revenge. In the end, an eye for an eye, and insult for an insult, and in the case of American politics, an extreme for an extreme yields nothing of value.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders made the decision to push back every time Hillary Clinton and the DNC flexed their muscles. In the end, he and his followers withdrew the one thing they needed most, their support. Perhaps, had he and his followers supported Hillary in the general election, maybe she ends up winning a few more states and in the process gains the necessary electoral votes to defeat Donald Trump.

Trump’s rise to the White House has resulted in a further push right by the GOP rather than the reigning in of their president It should not come as a surprise then Democrats are faced with another Bernie problem in 2020. The further right Team Trump moves, the greater they force Democrats to push back. The end result has seen Bernie Sanders rising to the top of the leader board early into the primaries while more moderate candidates struggle to keep up.

President Donald Trump

Moving further right might be the only smart political move Trump has made as president. After all, the number one priority of any person elected to the White House is making sure you get reelected. How do you do this when you lost the popular vote to a more traditional Democrat and know another and more likeable traditional candidate, Joe Biden, poses a threat? Moving further right has caused Democrats to become increasingly attracted to the most left leaning candidate out there, one who might be so far left he causes more practical minded folks to rethink voting against four more years of Donny boy.

In 2004, I voted to reelect George W. Bush, not because of his accomplishments, but because I believed the nation was in need of real change and I did not see John Kerry as an agent of real change. I figured I would rather wait out Bush and bank on Democrats to offer up a real alternative in 2008 because I did not see the GOP having anyone up to the task after Bush. That person turned out to be Barack Obama, a president I see as having done far more good for the people than anything anyone else had done in a long time.

It should not be a surprise that Trump is the anti-Obama and that he was able to take advantage of Hillary’s unpopularity. The fact she had to campaign as long and hard as she did to win her party’s nomination and rely so heavily on the DNC caving to her by awarding her most of their Super Delegates was a sure sign she was not a lock to win the general election. And now, after his first term comes toward an end, the DNC has a major problem on their hands again. How do they ensure a likeable and more traditional Democrat squares off against Trump who will appeal to Bernie’s fan base if he does not win the party nomination?

For me, I understand the concerns about Bernie Sanders as president of the United States. Besides him wanting to take us from one extreme to the other, I question whether he is physically fit for the job. Besides his age, he has had heart issues that will not disappear once he sits in the Oval Office. Is he worth the risk if he is a one term president?  Will he be held in check by his own party traditionalists or will he do to the DNC what Trump has done to the GOP? These are all valid questions to take into consideration when voting this year.

Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me state again, there is no scenario I see unfolding that will get me to cast a vote for Donald Trump. El Presidente himself could hold a gun to my head and dare me to not vote for him and I would cast my vote hoping the idiot misses his target.

However, going from Trump to Sanders is like getting off one roller coaster ride and jumping onto the next right away. After a while, it becomes too much. I do not believe the more services we make free to everyone, whether it is health care, child care, senior care, tuition, or anything else is the answer. Generally speaking, we take free stuff for granted and in the end, we abuse it.

When we earn something or work for something, we feel better about what we have and we value it more. This does not mean we cannot make services available for the truly needy. As long as we can outspend the next 20 nations in the world in our military, we can do a better job of caring for those in need.

However, we all need incentives. If the rich are provided the incentive to give back, they have the ability to affect real change in our society. If you punish them for being wealthy, they will take their wealth and hold onto it. When one party rigs the system to ensure their wealth at the expense of the rest of us, it has shown to be disastrous.

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning in Venice Beach

At the same time, the more younger people who are attracted to Bernie in droves demand more be given to them, the more they come across as spoiled brats who do not want to work their way up the ladder of life. Don’t forget, many of Trump’s most ardent supporters were members of the Love Generation and supported flower power. Adulthood and responsibility changed their thinking as much as anything else.

I have seen the chaos of extreme change countless times over the course of 30 years of teaching. I have laughed as I watched teachers who begin their school year with their touchy feely approach and their message to students that they have a friend in the form of their teacher. I have laughed harder as their teaching world crumbles. At mid-year, they hit the reset button and suddenly turn into a strict hard ass who is no longer any student’s friend then watch in horror as their classes fight back for what they became accustomed to. The most successful teachers rely on common sense, have an ability to adjust as the need warrants, and focus on going to great lengths to provide all students a fair shot at success.

Classrooms are a microcosm of society. Every school has a hard ass teacher or two who think kids just need to learn the way they have always been taught. They also have teachers who think every kid’s a winner and deserves a high grade just so they feel good about themselves even though they end up learning nothing of value. In between are the rest of the staff, the ones who try to bring common sense, fairness, and opportunity to every kid on campus.

Maybe I am wrong, but my gut keeps telling me most of this nation lies between the two extremes of Bernie and Donny. They are willing to give and take in the name of compromise and with the desire to get things done. They do not want to see the poor and disenfranchised suffer any more than they want to see our economy collapse under an Oligarchy.

They have grown tired of a narcissist as their leader and yet worry about supporting a man who threatens to take his voters and walk away from the polls in November if he does not get what he wants. They want someone who offers all of us hope, even if he or she may be a bit to the left or right to their liking because they see in the candidate a person who wants to restore our greatness more than reframe what our nation was built on.

It’s just my opinion, but Bernie Sanders does not offer hope as much as he offers a continuation of a political war that has resulted in a constant barrage of tit for tat bringing an increase of hate, rudeness, violence, and extremism that will result in the GOP just pushing back harder in response.

Doctors tell patients too much of anything is not healthy for us. Moderation is the key to a life of health and vigor. The same is true for our country. Too much of the far right or far left is not in the best interest of our nation’s health. Now is the time for a candidate to seize on this and make this case to the American voter. If not, expect another four years of extreme actions and reactions while nothing of real value is accomplished in Washington DC.

Photos are YouTube screenshots