Many in this presidential campaign have taken to using the word “extremist” to describe anyone with an opposing political view. In print, on the web, in casual conversation, the word pops up all the time. It’s getting old. Fast.

For example:

  • Pro life? Then Kerry’s an extremist who’s killed millions of people.
  • Didn’t vote for Bush? The he’s an extremist who seized the White House in a coup and single-handedly destroyed democracy.

Please. If anything’s extreme here, it’s this sort of elevated rhetoric. Perhaps the problem here isn’t Bush or Kerry. If either of the above sound like something you’ve said lately, then maybe the problem is you. Throwing the word around like it was a McDonald’s drive-thru order only devalues it until nothing is conveyed except a mealy-mouthed political disagreement. It convinces no one. Does nothing to foster thoughful discussion. It says “this is the way it is”. It’s the political version of “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”

Hell, I once had a guy call me an extremist. He said I was (and this is a direct quote) “worse than the terrorists”. This was only weeks after 9/11. My crime? I supposedly cut him off in the traffic pattern when I was flying my plane. That’s one pilot talking to another pilot. To this day, I still wonder what the hell was wrong with that guy.

“Extremist” should be reserved for things that are truly extreme. Like this group of lovely people in London who are throwing a convention to celebrating the 9/11 attacks:

Bakri called 9-11 “a cry of Jihad against unbelief and oppression” and said the aim of remembering it is to “revive the commandment of Jihad among the youth of the [Muslim] nation.”

Bakri said the convention also will feature a lecture about the Islamic religious roots of “slaughtering the infidels,” referring in part to the beheading of foreigners in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

It will include films by al-Qaida, the Tawhid and Jihad organization and the Brigades of the Two Holy Places in the Arabian Peninsula.

Also, the conference will feature a film on the most recent operations in Chechnya, he said. He added that one of the speeches, by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida’s military commander in Iraq, will be translated.

Another lecture, he said, will be dedicated to the memory of three al-Qaida commanders: Abd Al-‘Aziz Al-Muqren, killed in June 2004 by Saudi security forces; his predecessor Yousef Al-Ayyiri, killed in June 2003 in a clash with Saudi security forces; and Abu Hafs Al-Masri, a top al-Qaida military officer, killed in the U.S. attack on Kandahar in late 2001.

According to Bakri, the anticipated criticism of Al-Muhajiroun for the organization’s insistence on memorializing 9-11 will be “a simple sacrifice in comparison with what we must actually do — that is, support the Jihad led by bin Laden.”

If that doesn’t fit your definition of “extreme”, did I mention that children are fair game for terrorist attacks? (via Wizbang)

An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.

All this so they can take control of England and turn it into a Taliban paradise.

Como se dice, “Why are these people not in jail?” It would be nice to think that if al-Muhajiroun were in the United States, they’d be put behind bars for treason. According to Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” I’m all for free speech, but when you’re publicly advocating collaboration with those we’ve declared war on, it’s time to turn around and see where that line is.

Next time we’re tempted to describe an American politican or judge as an extremist, it might be worthwhile to consider what’s really extreme in this world.

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