Sinema’s Quitting Democratic Party Raises Question: What Is ‘Extremism’?

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Leaving aside any possible undeclared motives for leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an Independent, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has said some things that have needed to be said for a long time.

In an op-ed for The Arizona Republic, Sinema wrote, “Americans are told that we have only two choices—Democrat or Republican—and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold, views that have pulled further and further toward extremism.” She added this is a “false choice.”

More about extremism in a moment.

Sinema is still expected to mostly vote with Democrats and may be strategically positioning herself for reelection in 2024.

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In her announcement last October that she was leaving the Democratic Party, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii outdid Sinema. She said the party is “now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness,” accusing it of “racializing every issue, stoking anti-white racism” and “actively working to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.”

Concerning Sinema, little is likely to change. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said she will keep her committee assignments. A Wall Street Journal editorial notes that “Sinema voted for President Biden’s priorities some 90 percent of the time this Congress. Where her independence mattered in the last two years is preserving the Senate filibuster and opposing the worst elements of the Biden Build Back Better plan, especially its tax-rate increases. That enraged the unforgiving left that now dominates the Democratic Party.”

Back to the notion of extremism. The word is used by each party against the other. The first definition of “extreme” on dictionary.com says “of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average.” Haven’t we redefined what used to be considered ordinary and average? The CVS where I received my latest COVID-19 booster asked for my “gender assigned at birth.” Is that ordinary, or average, or is it extreme?

Is it extreme to try to prevent more abortions and protect women from the regrets many feel after having had them?

Is it extreme to allow drag queens to lead story hours in public libraries, but deny Christian author and actor Kirk Cameron the same privilege?

Which is more extreme: Having an open southern border that allows hundreds of thousands to enter the country illegally, some with deadly fentanyl pills and other drugs, or finishing the wall and allowing for their processing at established entry points?

Is it extreme to allow the government to expand in size and cost, creating a nearly $32 trillion debt, or attempt to cut spending and balance the budget for our future financial health?

Is it extreme to oppose thousands of new IRS agents who will conduct more audits on wealthy Americans and businesses, or limit their power by reforming the indecipherable tax code? As noted by The Tax Foundation: “The Government Printing Office sells it spread over two volumes, and according to them, book one is 1,404 pages and book two is 1,248 pages, for a total of 2,652 pages. At perhaps 450 words per page, that puts the tax code at well over 1 million words.” That sounds extreme to me.

Is it extreme to protect seniors already receiving, or about to receive Social Security and Medicare while reforming these programs for future generations? Both programs are projected to run out of money by 2035 when only about 80 percent of today’s benefits may be available.

Good luck, Sen. Sinema, in your efforts to combat extremism. Your challenge will be less defining what is extreme and more defining what is normal.

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