Saturday, April 18, 2009

Extreme Makeover: DHS Edition

The Department of Homeland Security has recently issued a report to law enforcement agencies regarding the dangers of ‘rightwing extremism’. Some of the beliefs considered to be extreme are “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority’, fear of an ‘impending economic collapse’, ‘frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration’, seeing ‘recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms’. The DHS also fears ‘disgruntled’ military veterans might use their skills for nefarious purposes. Coincidentally (?), the DHS report was released just one week before the tax day tea parties.

The word extreme can be defined in various ways. Here are a few that I found:

Being in or attaining the greatest or highest degree
Extending far beyond the norm
Exceptionally unusual
Very great
Not ordinary

In 1776 the thirteen British colonies in North America had the unmitigated gall to tell the king of the most powerful nation on earth to take a flying leap. That is extreme. The Declaration of Independence was written to explain to the world why the colonies were separating from the mother country. There was no attempt to hide what they were doing. That is extreme.

In 1787 the nation that sprang from those thirteen colonies produced a constitution. A constitution that created a system of government that would be accountable to its citizens. That is extreme. This system of federal government did not aggregate all power to itself, but rather allowed state and local governments to manage their own affairs. That is extreme. This constitution guarantees basic rights to its citizens. That is extreme.

Never in the history of the world have any people lived in such liberty and prosperity as have the citizens of the United States of America. From the Persian Empire to the iron fist of Rome, from the despotic Muslim caliphate to the rule of medieval European monarchs, from the absolute power of Chinese emperors to the blood lust of the Aztecs no nation has ever had the peace and freedom that have been found in the United States of America. This nation is an anomaly. This nation is extreme.

Is the DHS report on ‘rightwing extremism’ wrong? The report makes it clear that the extremists are people who want their states to have the rights guaranteed by the tenth amendment, people who want their second amendment right to bear arms, people who expect the federal government to do its constitutional duty in securing our borders, people who have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution. Given that our constitution and Declaration of Independence are extremist documents it is only logical that anyone who holds to the principles stated in those documents is in fact an extremist. For our own government to take exception to that kind of extremity can only tell us that our government no longer adheres to the ideals of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Hold on to what is right. Do not bristle at being labeled an extremist. Wear the title with honor and dignity. Wear it like an American.