Democrats and Republicans need to silence the extremists in their parties
Mar 27, 2023, 5:00 PM
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
SALT LAKE CITY — Democrats and Republicans live in the same neighborhoods and work the same jobs. However, political extremists have hijacked the dialog and are pitting people who would otherwise agree with one another to contempt for the other.
During the first stop on the statewide, 29-county “Connecting Utah” tour, Gov. Spencer Cox stopped at Tooele High School.
“Republicans are wrong about Democrats, and Democrats are wrong about Republicans,” he said.
“What we’re doing now is we’re only listening to the most extreme voices in those parties. So Republicans are only listening to the craziest Democrats and assuming that all Democrats are like that. Democrats are only listening to the craziest Republicans and assuming all Republicans are like that when the difference between the average Democrat and the average Republican really isn’t that big,” Cox said as reported by Deseret News.
When the extremists are in charge
Boyd said the similarities between the two political parties never make the headlines, but the differences between the two drive the narrative of politics and drive the wedge of anger between them.
“If you look at a basic Democrat and a basic Republican, they live in the same kind of neighborhood, with the same kind of family structure, with the same kind of job, so there’s actually very little difference in terms of their everyday lives,” he said.
“The only Republicans we hear are the 10% most extreme,” Dave Noriega said. “The only Democrats we hear from are the 10% most extreme.”
Boyd said he thinks the number is more like 3% on each extreme.
“We amplify them in our own conversations. We amplify them in the media, and we amplify them on cable news,” Boyd said.
By amplifying the extremists in politics, their bad behavior is rewarded, and that continues to drive the wedge, which keeps the non-extremists of both parties (center-left and center-right) from having the needed conversations where there is agreement.
From ‘I disagree with you’ to ‘You are evil’
Also, the political extremists go beyond only disagreement; they drive the wedge to reach contempt of the other.
“Contempt is that belief in the worthlessness of another person because they disagree with you,” Boyd said. “And so if I disagree with Dave, and I have contempt for Dave, I can say anything I want about Dave.
“I can blow up his social media. I can melt down his Facebook. I can attack his Twitter, and I can still sleep at night, go to church on Sunday and feel good about myself because he’s evil.”
Can we ever agree on one thing?
“Okay, so if we are agreeing with the governor where he says, ‘Republicans are wrong about Democrats, and Democrats are wrong about Republicans’ [then] where do we come together?” Dave asked.
While working as chief of staff for Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Boyd said he was baffled how quickly both parties came together on immigration.
“We sat in a room and everybody agreed. Democrats, Republicans, everybody agreed. Everyone knows we need to have a border because we are a country. So we need to have a secure border. We need to have a way to tell who comes in and who who goes out.
“If Disneyland can tell you, Dave, where your kids are at any point in time in the park for a three-day period, surely, the greatest country on Earth can figure out who comes in and who leaves the country,” Boyd said.
But the road to agreement on immigration (or Medicare and Social Security) starts with the courage to try to understand the perspective of the other side, he said.
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