Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Defeating the Politics of Polarization

 


In an increasingly polarized America where little consensus is found, it is somewhat interesting to find that there are people on the right and the left who may be sharing a bit of mutual agreement on at least two hotbed issues.

Contrary to most news coverage in Alabama on the issue of Common Core, a.k.a. Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, “right-wing extremist groups” are not the only ones opposed to the Common Core. A simple Internet search for Russell Winn from Huntsville, AL (www.geekpalaver.com), Diane Ravitch (www.dianeravitch.com), and Kris Nielsen (www.atthechalkface.com) will provide an abundance of criticism of the Common Core by those who lean to the political left.

Now, it appears that people from both sides of the aisle are alarmed by new regulations released last November that were proposed by the Obama administration and written by the Internal Revenue Service regarding political activity of nonprofits.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, concern over the broad reach of the regulations is not limited to conservatives, although those organizations have been the most vocal of late given the IRS scrutiny and apparent targeting of numerous TEA party groups, including the Wetumpka TEA party in Alabama. In a supposed effort to end the tax-exempt abuse of some nonprofits, the proposed rules “would significantly tighten the definition by considering voter registration drives, turnout initiatives, candidate debates, forums and voter guides among candidate-related political activity.”

1. In other words, most any activity related to educating the voters regarding issues or candidates would be severely limited because groups would hesitate to participate for fear of IRS repercussions.

Public comments to date have been filed in record numbers, including those from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which state, “the proposed rule threatens to discourage or sterilize an enormous amount of political discourse in America.”

2. What I find most interesting and revealing about these proposed rules are that they do not apply to labor unions which are extremely engaged in political activity, especially in support for Democrat candidates.

The combined backlash and public outcry from both sides of the political aisle will hopefully stop the implementation for the short term, but the bigger question remains: How many more rules and regulations will be imposed at the direction of the Obama administration that are designed to silence political foes and erode the freedoms guaranteed in our Bill of Rights?

Will the increasing power of an overreaching, increasingly centralized “Big Brother” government begin to bring disparate groups together over issues yet to surface and will we begin to see a bit more common ground as people recognize the threat to our freedom?

Our liberties are being daily eroded by the expansion of government and the loss of liberty, economic or otherwise. Through the politics of polarization, this administration appears intent on tearing us apart as a nation, relentlessly pitting us against each other on issues of race, gender, economic status, and religion. So it’s with a glimmer of hope that I see groups from both sides of the political aisle joining forces to fight tyranny, albeit one cautious and small step at a time.

1, 2 Hulse, Carl. “Left and Right Object to I.R.S. Plan to Restrict Nonprofits’ Political Activity.” The New York Times 12 Feb. 2012: Web

Marcia Chambliss is the Alabama State Coordinator of Smart Girl Politics, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the education and training of activists and candidates, and Smart Girl Politics Action, http://sgpaction.com/, a 501(c)(4) which focuses on conservative issues. She can be reached at Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics Action.

 

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