Extremism or Diplomacy?

I grew up in a very conservative household. I have always lived around Republicans who have grown up around other Republicans. I consider myself a conservative who fits the stereotype very well. I am a white, straight male who grew up working on a farm and driving diesel pickups. And to add to it, I plan to go into the military. I am a hardcore patriot. I share this not to get into political upheaval but rather to express my bias concerning this reflection.

I have been taught to frown upon liberals because I only looked at their extreme actions. Lately though, I have seen the good things they have done. But unfortunately, both parties have done good and bad things because our government is inefficient and made up of humans. 

Romans 3:23-24 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” 

Everyone has experienced the effects of the fall. We are all equally damned. I say this to set the stage that it does not matter if the man or woman in the office is wearing a red or blue tie; we can be confident that they will fail us at some point. That does not mean it does not matter who we put there. But, it does mean that everyone will fall short. 

With failure comes protests. The whole BLM movement was very extreme. In “The Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. writes, “Perhaps the south, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” Nothing will ever get done unless someone is a diehard activist. That is the belief, and it is proven by precedent. While this is true, other methods can be used to solve things. 

The European Wars of Religion in the Reformation era was too extreme. I understand someone willing to die for what they believe in, such as a martyr or even Jesus; however, there is no reason to be extreme when the view is so close. By intentionally going extreme, it is getting further away from a compromise. This should mean a lot coming from someone who wants to join the military. Many issues in this day and age should be solved by diplomacy rather than indelicacy. 

I am not a pacifist by any means, but in some things, some views are so close on both sides. But then, for reasons known only to God, the human race disagrees on every issue. This is justified by the fact that there are disagreements on some issues. We make our enemies by thinking we must have intense debates on every topic. That is why the opposite of progress is a congress. The only way anything can ever get done is when one party has the supermajority. At that point, one side is unhappy, and things like BLM or the Jan. 6 insurrection happen. If diplomacy existed, and people with different beliefs would stop talking over each other and listen respectfully, good things would happen. 

You would understand this analogy if you have ever dealt with a bungee cord. When tightening something down with a bungee cord, you must strain it to close it. Sometimes it will get close to the two sides hooking; however, because they have tension, they will often shoot away from each other. The same happens in government and in the case of Martin Luther, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church would not listen to him, so he split from the church. This was extreme.

Let me explain. We have slight disagreements on some things, and then, because there is tension already, there is nothing we can agree on, so we immediately go to extremes. Even if we are coming close to an agreement, we will still be content with extremism. Sometimes, nobody will listen until someone is shouting from the rooftops. However, if everyone listened to everyone, there would be no need for extremism or a supermajority. If you don’t believe me, then I will give an example.

Both the right and the left have the same view of abortion. The only reason that there are extremists on both sides is that they have blinders on. They don’t realize they could unite and fight for the same thing. For instance, pro-life does not have to be synonymous with anti-abortion. In the same way, pro-choice does not have to be the same as pro-abortion. It is not two sides of an issue, such as for or against abortion. When we look at it this way, there are only two options and no compromise. There is, in fact, a way for both sides to win. There is a way to have pro-choice and pro-life.

Pro-life argues for the choice to give the baby a chance. Pro-choice desires for the mother to have the option to choose life for her child. If someone were pro-abortion, they would not be pro-choice. If the only choice is to take an innocent life, then is it a choice? It only becomes a choice if there are other options to choose from. Both sides want the ability to choose life or death for the infant. However, because conflicting sides associate with different views, there cannot be a compromise. Even though it is practically the same thing being argued, the world does not seem to work without constant extremes. 

The actual value of education is to have the ability to have discourse with someone with whom you disagree. The only reason extremism exists is that diplomacy was not an option. If the Catholic Church had listened to Luther, would Luther have become an extremist? If the U.S. government heard the cries of segregated people, would Martin Luther King Jr. be an extremist? If the bipartisan system was diplomatic, would there be progress? Is there such a thing as a political compromise in our day? Which is better, extremism or diplomacy?

Contributed By: Tait Leeper