There is nothing wrong with having principles and being firm in your convictions, but the difference between firmness and extremism is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. There are a lot of extremists out there who can not and will not compromise, or agree that someone who has a different opinion from their own is entitled to that opinon and may actually be right.
For some, religion and politics are one in the same: religion is their politics and politics is their religion. The danger that these extreme, uncompromising individuals pose to our life and liberty can not be underestimated.
When you have people who hide their toxicity, evil and bigotry behind misinterpretations of what ever holy book they hold dear. When you have people who refuse to believe that anyone who does not believe as they do is wrong. When you have people who would condemn the rest of the world to war, death, or annhilation because of differences in race, religion, ethnicity or sexual persuasion, you have the recipe for genocide—of a species by its collective, uncompromising members.
The virulence of politics over the last 20 years has divested the nation of a massive amount of critical thought and self-reflection. The extremists on both sides of the aisle, but mainly on the right, who believe that their vision was God-inspired, sowed the seeds of self-destruction in this nation, and so did the spineless “liberals” who allowed it to happen.
Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and, yes, Clinton—AKA Republican lite, presided over a massive weakening of our Constitution, and played havoc with the social safety net and regulatory framework which had held “Depression” at bay for nearly 70 years. Those of us weirdos and wackoes (yes, I am a proud “weirdo”) who look askance at any politician, must now allow the excesses of the past to be buried in the “hope for the future.”
We can not 'stay the course' when either Democrat, Republican, or “Other” misuses power and abuses his or her office. And we must encourage the free flow of thought, ideas and discourse.
The fact that Arlen Specter has had enough of iconoclastic, hard-line, uncompromising Republicanism and has backed away from the Unholy Temple of Mamon, Materialism & Deregulation could be an invigorating thing for both parties. It has long been said that there are people in the Republican Party who belong in the Democrat Party, and vice versa.
Lately, the extremists of the Republican Party have been tearing the institution apart, while the Democrats seem to have lost their spine, will and intestinal fortitude. Even now, many are still playing Bush games, holding their hands over their eyes and declaring “victory” over the economy by refusing to see how bad the man or woman in the street has been clobbered by the so-called “Wall Street Meltdown.”