Published on
The Nation

Echoing at the Extremes

This weekend, at a panel on the U.S./Mexico border in Marfa, Texas, GRITv friend, reporter Mark Danner discussed the "thinning out" and hardening of politics.

When there's insecurity, violence and threat, he noted, people flock to those who promise to deliver security and stability even at the cost of their personal liberties. Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico—whomever offers protection attracts popular support.

But that's not only true in visibly war-torn countries. It's true here too. Don't you think? The economy hasn't recovered, no matter how many reports proclaim that the recession ended and millions cast about for answers, for someone to blame, someone who promises to help.

The middle of the spectrum, Danner noted, thins out while the extremes thicken and grow more powerful. Funny how here in the U.S. we've only heard about one extreme: the Tea Party movement, the angry, anti-government, pro-gun, far white. The money media loves their rallies and their politicians. Wacky views make great cable news.

So what about other views? Views that might be considered the other end of the "extreme" spectrum remain unspeakable. Suggest that Obama is a socialist Kenyan Nazi Muslim and you might end up winning a primary campaign. Suggest that Bush and Cheney ought to be prosecuted for torture and other war crimes, and you're ostracized. Why is that?

Perhaps the reason that we've only heard from one extreme in this time of crisis is that those in the money media fear that the other, leftist sort might actually gain traction. As Americans feel the ground shifting beneath them, nothing's more critical than controlling what's out there, on offer, on which to hold tight.

Sustain our Journalism

If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent journalism, please support our Spring drive now and help progressive media that believes as passionately as you do in defending the common good and building a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

Share This Article

More in: