Reining in the Fringe
By G. Gregory Tooker
Last month, your writer offered thoughts about the ever-widening gap between our existing political parties and the growing improbability that gap might be bridged. In just a few short weeks, that space has become a chasm, as the rhetoric has grown ever more aggressive. Not only is the Biden agenda in jeopardy, so is the fragile, recovering economy as the national debt ceiling looms.
Several decades ago, as a college student, your writer had the benefit of a wonderful course in European Political Systems taught by a visiting professor at Boston University. It was in that forum the term “lunatic fringe” was introduced, referring to extremist partisans at either end of the political spectrum. In Europe, those adherents were usually in the minority and the individual parties they formed did not often have a distorting impact in shaping national policies in a particular country. Unfortunately, such is not the case in the United States of America.
The lunatic fringe in America is holding the country hostage at the moment, playing Russian roulette with our country’s future. Stubborn refusal to adjust thinking and policy to pragmatic compromise will potentially cause social and economic damage that will require years to repair.
Rather than being forced right or left by unrealistic minority thinking, the majority of what I believe to be unselfish elected senators and representatives in both parties must build a coalition. Led by realists such as Senator Angus King, dedicated to creating and implementing practical solutions to problems now threatening the very existence of our democracy, progress can be achieved. We cannot allow this state of paralysis to exist much longer or the opportunity to escape the clutches of the fringe will be lost. The pendulum swings on relentlessly.