Everybody has a list of worries, both personal (family, health, bills, etc.) and global (the economy, the elections, climate change, will the Nats and O’s rebound from their playoff failures).
Lately, I’ve added to my worry list what appears to be a growing trend toward progressive extremism — liberals’ willingness to advance their agenda at any expense, including truth, fairness and the rule of law, an alarming phenomenon.
Rule 1: Beware of anyone who changes their identity to obscure their past. The liberals, having ruined their brand, now call themselves progressives, but they’re still the same old liberals.
Rule 2: Beware of extremism, no matter how sacrosanct the cause. Remember how Barry Goldwater was condemned in 1964 for saying “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”?
By progressive extremism, I don’t mean low-level nannyism like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on super-sized sugar drinks or the anti-smoking lobby’s recent rewrite of “The Night Before Christmas” deleting all references to Santa’s pipe.
There’s a difference between being extremely annoying and true extremism.
No, I’m worried about a liberal mind-set that, in the name of its own beliefs, feels free to encroach upon fundamental American freedoms.
The latest example is Angela McCaskill’s suspension from the Gallaudet University faculty because she signed a petition putting Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the Nov. 6 ballot.
When a lesbian co-worker learned that McCaskill, the first deaf black woman to earn a Ph.D from Gallaudet, signed the petition, she demanded disciplinary action against McCaskill, the university’s diversity officer. Thus, McCaskill was suspended, with pay, pending final judgment.
How on earth could Gallaudet’s otherwise sane, responsible leaders punish an employee for exercising a basic freedom? Granted, universities, with their speech codes, liberal curricula and like-minded faculties, have become citadels of intolerance and single-mindedness. But that’s no excuse.
Is the progressive mind-set so pervasive at Gallaudet that not one red flag went up when someone said, “We’ll have to fire McCaskill”?
It reminds me of when The Washington Post’s Mike Weisskopf wrote an expose on the religious right reporting that, as accepted fact, the religious right’s “followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.”
It wasn’t surprising that Weisskopf, a notorious lefty, believed this. But it was shocking that the battalion of Post editors and proofreaders who reviewed Weisskopf’s front-page story found no fault with labeling evangelicals “poor, uneducated and easy to command.” Just like at Gallaudet, no red flags went up because the monolithic liberal mind-set was all-pervasive. And these are the same gatekeepers who decide what we see, hear and think daily. Scary.
We saw the same kind of liberal bullying and intimidation during the recent Chick-fil-A flap, when Boston and Chicago elected officials threatened to punish the restaurant chain because its owner contributes to anti-gay marriage organizations. Trampling on this businessman’s rights drew no media outcry because, frankly, the media agrees with the trampling. Scary.
Saving the environment is another license for rights’ trampling. Recently, the town of Las Vegas, N.M., passed an anti-fracking ordinance that grants an “inalienable and fundamental right to exist” to Mother Earth and, henceforth, denies “the rights of persons (due process, trial by jury, etc.)” to any corporation that violates the ordinance.
But that wasn’t extreme enough — the anti-fracking ordinance also states that it cannot be superseded by state law, federal law or the U.S. Constitution.
When quizzed how a town ordinance can declare itself superior to the Constitution, Paula Hern of the Community for Clean Water, Air and Earth explained, “What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done.”
Sidestepping the Constitution probably wouldn’t set off alarms at Gallaudet or The Post, but Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz saw a problem and refused to sign the ordinance. So the environmental extremists are now trying to vote him out of office — kind of like what happened to Angela McCaskill or anyone else who obstructs the progressive’s juggernaut.
But what worries me the most is the wholesale willingness of the national media to become a giant billboard for the Democratic Party and the Obama re-election campaign. What does it mean when the media abandon any pretense of objectivity, fairness and professionalism to advance one party’s political agenda and candidate?
No wonder the media and the Democrats so violently oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case, which frees corporations to enter the political arena.
The media (corporations themselves) are defending their monopoly against non-media corruptions with alternative views. That’s because the media and the Democrats want to be the only voice we hear — the ultimate extremism.
Blair Lee is CEO of the Lee Development Group in Silver Spring and a regular commentator for WBAL radio. His column appears Fridays in The Gazette. His email address is email@example.com.