Dangers of political extremism

Just about everyone agrees the extreme beliefs that led Tamerian and Dzhokar Tsarnaev to commit the bombings at the Boston Marathon are totally unacceptable. Sometimes extremism leads to violence but when we have political extremism, it is just bad governance.

After numerous incidents of slaughter by those with legally purchased and highly lethal weapons, Congress, fearing retaliation by the NRA, stands by their extreme position of voting for less gun regulation.

Our “law and order” extremism has resulted in our country incarcerating more citizens than any other country in the world. We spend more money locking young people up than educating them. And Congress recently voted to fix the sequester in regard to air traffic controllers but are ignoring the Head Start program for poor children and other such programs.

Gov. Kasich is to be commended for trying to get the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, but the extremism of his own party would have none of it. And some of the people hurt in the Boston Marathon bombings are depending on donations because they don’t have adequate health care to take care of their injuries despite the United States having “the best health care in the world.”

Cutting taxes has taken on a life of its own. We don’t want “big government” until our roads and bridges fall apart, we have a devastating flood or fire, there is a terrorist attack, someone tries to take away Medicare and Social Security, etc. In the meantime, Congress has created subsidies, loopholes and cut taxes for the wealthiest and big business and in addition, some of them have even moved their wealth off shore to avoid paying taxes. If everyone paid their fair share instead of taking extreme measures to avoid taxes, we wouldn’t have a problem.

And then there is the extremism of shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics that give access to health care and contraception to poor women. A lot of our public hospitals are church affiliated and they hold the extreme position against contraception for their employees and patients. The morning-after pill should be affordable and available to all women with no restrictions. Young people are going to have sex, perhaps not meaning to, and if they want to prevent a pregnancy the next day and take the responsibility to do something about it, more power to them. We have good science, but our way of thinking is tragically outdated.

Carol Lazear Mitchell