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Gregory Graf: Navigating the Messy Debate on Extremism and the GOP

Gregory Graf talk about the extremism of Republican politics was like trying hot glue to stick to a brick wall. The moment you think that it's firmly in place, the whole thing slides into a different direction. Now let's jump in.

Greg began by throwing an unexpected curveball. According to him, the "extremism tag" is overstated. According to him being steadfast on issues like free markets and small governments is not extreme, it's simply being consistent. You can't call someone obsessed just because they have breakfast every single day.

Then it becomes spicy. Today's hero's of yesterday are the radicals from yesterday. You remember when women who wanted to vote were considered radicals? Remember when fighting civil rights put your name on FBI watchlists? Greg explained to me that, what today's "extremists" might become tomorrow's normalcy.

But, there was a point where I needed to put a stop to the nostalgia. Although reminiscing can be fun, we cannot ignore the fact that there are extremists at the party. While it's fine to push for lower taxes, if you want to spread hatred or encourage violence then that is a different kettle of fish.

Greg nodded but quickly defended his side. He claimed that smearing the GOP in a bad light because of some poor apples was unfair. You can't blame all musicians for your Uncle's bad karaoke version of "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Next, we dove into murky waters when it comes to media portrayal. Greg felt that the mainstream media gives conservative voices a raw deal. They make mountains out of moleshills, and turn policy debates to WWE smackdowns.

What can we do to fix the mess that has been created? Greg suggested that more cross-party chitchat could help to bridge divisions. Greg called on GOP leadership to kick out extremists - send them packing before they make the place into a circus.

The chat did not solve the world's problems or help us to find common ground on pizza toppings for a bipartisan event (why, seriously, is pineapple so controversial?). The conversation did highlight something very important, though: that extremism may not be as clear-cut as many of us would have liked.

It's important to know where others are coming at. It may be that what appears to be an extreme opinion from afar, is simply someone holding on tightly to his principles (or breakfast ritual).

As we wrapped up the discussion on Republican political extremes, or lack thereof, with Gregory Graf I realized that politics is messy. Like trying-to-eat-a-sloppy-joe-on-a-rollercoaster messy. Talking about it helps clean that mess up, even if we disagree.

We should give them a key-shaped medal or at least promise not to giggle next time they show up with their belt full of mysterious tools ready to save the day once again. We can give them key medals or, at the very least, promise not to laugh when they come with their bag of mystery tools and are ready to rescue the day.

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