Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Extreme" . . .

WIBX reported on Congressman Hanna's visit to the Mid-York Library . . .

Hanna who served on the Utica Public Library Board for a number of years says he understands the financial struggle its facing.

Hanna said his goal is to lend the full support of his office and listen to what library officials have to say, “It’s an easy place to cut, but the one thing about a Library is that it’s a great leveler. . . . it’s important to remember that education is the one great leveler and has been throughout history, and Libraries educate."
I like the congressman's description of education as being the one great leveler. It is true . . . and defines why it is important to maintain our libraries and other educational institutions.
During his speech, Hanna seemed to distance himself from the Republican party when addressing cuts to education and other institutions like public libraries. He said, “I’m comfortable being a Republican. I think that I probably find myself distanced a little bit from both parties because they both tend to be run by their extremes. . . But, these are harsh times so it’s important to bring balance . . ."


When asked about the threat of the government shutting down again Hanna said, “I don’t think that’ll happen . . . When you have 30 or 40 people that want to push for their extreme views it’s hard to get through that because you need their votes and sometimes the things you have to do to get them on board aren’t really palatable, generally."
Accusing people of being "extreme" is a personal attack intended to marginalize a viewpoint to avoid having to deal with the substance of what is being said.   

Claiming "balance" while not addressing the issue at hand with an explanation similarly implies that the people being labeled extreme are not worthy of being listened to.

While most people recognize the value of education and libraries (and other matters that the Federal Government may have involved itself in) is it "extreme" to question the role of the Federal Government, as opposed to the States, in the endeavor? Is it "extreme" to question the need for its spending? Since we know that the Constitution limits federal powers to certain essential things, is it "extreme" to insist that the Federal Government do the job it was given to do and stay out of things left to other levels of government . . . at least until the Federal Government gets its fiscal house in order?

Mr. Hanna takes pride in his "independent voting record" -- as he should.  No representative of the people should be a "rubber-stamp" for party elite.  Nonetheless, the congressman needs to figure out why he was sent to Washington at this particular point in time.  Dismissal of concerns as "extreme" without explanation merely because they happen to collide with one's worldview interferes with the process.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Strike, I can see his point of both left and right "extremes". It's not just this matter, it's the whole myiad of matters which there seems to be a great divide (exterme) between left and right.

Anonymous said...

REp. Hanna is well on his way to become a ONE AND DONE member of the house. He is just Boehlert light.

Strikeslip said...

To anonymous 1, I think labeling people 'right and 'left', portraying them as 'extreme' while proclaming one self as 'center ' or ' balanced' is an easy way to avoid articulating the rationale for one's votes -- assuming there is a rationale as opposed to a preference or feeling.

If both major parties have moved to the 'left,' those articulating traditional views supporting small government and limited spending might be called 'extreme' when a generation ago they would have been considered 'normal...

Its much better to chuck the labels altogether and discuss whether particular positions are appropriate and why.

Anonymous said...

Agree. The habit of condemning labels often serves to duck the hard positions and votes. Having priciples ans firm views is not extreme. There is a tendancy for many to call out "extreme" when they here or are exposed to different views. Many of Hanna's positions may, in fact, be considered extreme by very reasonable standards.