The Threat from Extremism
The latest news headlines are indicating that Russia is threatening to invade Ukraine while building a major military presence in the Arctic. And in order to stifle opposition, Putin’s main political opponent Alexei Navalny is in prison and a reported thirty-four journalists have been killed in Russia over the past few years.
Meanwhile, China is threatening to invade Taiwan. This comes after China’s recent destruction of democracy in Hong Kong. At the same time, China is reportedly committing genocide among the Uyghurs and is demolishing churches and destroying other religious symbols throughout China. Freedom of the press and social media is also non-existent there. And with the advent of cameras and Artificial Intelligence the actions of the Chinese people are now reportedly being monitored all of the time.
It is important to remember that Russia has a right-wing extremist form of government, not quite fascism but close to it. China on the other hand has a left-wing extremist form of government which is communism. Both are considered oligarchies which means that they are run by a small group of people, usually rich. In effect though, they are authoritarian dictatorships which are a one-way street – once you go to this form of government the goal of those in charge is to maintain power indefinitely.
Unchecked, extremist forms of government will only get worse over time. The ultimate form of extremism is North Korea, which is officially known as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, believe it or not. It is difficult to envision how bad it must be to live in a place where you have no freedom what-so-ever while living in near poverty.
We in the United States need to be thankful that we still have our democracy but it is being threatened by extremists, both externally and internally, as never before. Democracy is a moderate form of government which has served us well for over 240 years. Remember that our Founding Fathers, who formed a democracy in a time when monarchies were prevalent, where moderate conservatives and moderate liberals.
It is too late for the Russian and Chinese people but it is not too late for us. With our two major political parties moving further towards each end of the ideological spectrum as time goes on, we desperately need a centrist political party to ensure that our democracy will not fail.
But such a party would also do much more. The Republicans represent largely the wealthy and the far-right and the Democrats represent largely the poor and the far-left. A new centrist political party would represent moderate conservatives and moderate liberals who make up most of those who identify as political Independents, would represent our disappearing middle class, and would represent millennials who will not have it as good as previous generations have. These groups presently have little to no representation in our government.
There is an old saying that goes: “When you do what you did, you get what you got.” Having only two political parties to choose from has caused us to get mired in gridlock and it is ripping our country apart. The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world to have a two-party political system and it is failing us.
As simple as it sounds, a third major centrist tie-breaker political party would allow us to solve all of our country’s problems. Plus, the government would start doing things that make sense because the centrist party would be the one to determine which policies get enacted. Based on recent polling data, over 60 percent of Americans and over 70 percent of millennials agree that we need a third major centrist political party.
You can do something to help change the direction that our country is heading in. Don’t buy into the “that will never happen” paradigm that is so common regarding the formation of a third major political party. There are several fledgling efforts out there working to accomplish this such as the Alliance Party (theallianceparty.com), the Reform Party (reformparty.org), and Represent.Us.
Besides supporting these groups, there are other things that you can do individually if you feel frustrated and frightened about what is going on in our country. Start a local group such a Facebook or Meetup group. If you are a student, start a group at your school or university. Nothing will happen without your help.