What defines an extremist? What defines extremism?
“As a government, we are working to prevent all types of extremism that leads to violence, regardless of who inspires it. At the same time, countering al-Qa’ida’s violent ideology is onepart of our comprehensive strategy to defeat al-Qa’ida. Over the past 2½ years, more key al-Qa’ida leaders—including Usama bin Laden—have been eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since the September 11 attacks. We have strengthened homeland security and improved information sharing. Thanks to coordinated intelligence and law enforcement, numerous terrorist plots have been thwarted, saving many American lives.” —President Barack Obama, August 2011
How is it possible to prevent extremism that leads to violence – regardless of who inspires it? What must be done? How do you know who to stop and when? This most recent Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) out of Washington, D.C. leaves those definitions pretty open.
This is about definitions and who is defining them. Most of us would agree that “extremists” who go and kill others (including themselves) are dangerous. What about people who are extreme in their rhetoric but would never hurt anyone? Freedom of speech allows us to speak up and out as long as we are not violating anyone else’s right to life and liberty. What if those people who speak up are called an extremist? Are the Occupy Wall Street crowds engaging in extremism? Are the Tea Party crowds engaging in extremism? Are Ron Paul followers and supporters engaging in extremism? Isn’t it up to the person to decide whether or not these people will engage in violence? Before a crime is committed – who has the power to actually know what people are going to do? Law enforcement and our government are not God and do not know everything. Why are they the ones to decide who is being extreme and whether or not those people may use violence BEFORE IT HAS EVEN HAPPENED? Isn’t that dangerous to our freedom to express ourselves?
I take offense to this and these definition because I myself have been called a “radical” and an “extremist” because I really truly believe in the Constitution of the United States being the control mechanism to keep our government in check. I have also been called these names because I have given up everything to be able to try and speak to others about it. I have even been called this when I say that I believe in Jesus Christ, as he walked and taught us while on this earth. And if someone tried to kill me for any of these things, I would fight back. Does that fit their definition of extremism? Am I now the enemy?
These are questions you should ask yourself. Even if YOU don’t think you are doing anything – what if someone who didn’t like you decided that you are? What if they then tell local law enforcement what a dangerous and extreme person you are? Are you now the enemy?
Just reminding you that we have more freedom right now than we may ever have again, and you better use it.
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
- George Washington