Uncomfortable Pattern Recognition

I am uncomfortable reading articles like the one Paul Krugman wrote in today’s New York Times . I am uncomfortable because something tells me that Paul Krugman is right.  I would like my personal discomfort to resonate with and be shared by the vast majority of Americans.

Several quotes from this article are excerpted below:

"Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people’s beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself."  . . .

There is a nationwide trend toward ‘conscience’ or ‘refusal’ legislation. Laws in Illinois and Mississippi already allow doctors and other health providers to deny virtually any procedure to any patient.  . . .

What we need– and we aren’t seeing– is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism.  . . .

"The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk."

"America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here."

Maybe it’s just difficult for moderate people to get fired up about these things because they are– moderate. But there are enough signs out there for me to be concerned that we need a global wake up call among moderates to reassert their claim to the middle ground.

What empowers extremists in this country are the tolerance born of moderation and the "freedom" that our Founding Fathers wove into the tapestry that is our Constitution. These and other core elements that make democratic America what it is today are being twisted into the devices of those who would deny the majority of Americans freedom of choice, freedom of expression, and freedom of worship.

I hope you have a problem with that too, and I hope that many of us will decide to do something about it before it’s too late.

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