155 Iraqi professors of both sects, mostly moderates, have been assassinated since the 2003 invasion, the Hindu has reported. When things get extreme, extremists thrive.
At one point I had this fantasy that the Iraqi war was a plot by moderates on both sides - a way to lure violent extremists from both sides into a battlefield. The eventual result? Only moderates who stayed away from violent solutions would be left standing.
But of course, violence doesn't work that way. And it is particularly disturbing for Iraq that even moderates are being targeted because moderates are always the glue that holds societies together.
A similar thing will happen Tuesday in this country. The murders will be political, of course, but it will be moderates who will be victims. Anyone who fails to feel some measure of delight at the prospect of Republicans losing their grip on Congress has simply failed to pay attention to this 109th Congress. Nonetheless, it is quite sad that their reign of error will be truncated by the political death of moderates.
Politics is about compromise - finding a peaceful solution to clashes of worldviews and values. Only fools think that there are violent shortcuts to political compromise or think that soon everyone will "get it" and the idiots on the other side will admit the error of their ways, repenting of being naive (pick one: conservatives or liberals or environmentalists or pro-lifers or ...) and joining with us in the forward march of progress. As the influence of moderates over the process wanes, the political process becomes more defined by acrimonious name-calling than progress.
Iraqis may think that they are murdering moderates but the real victim is a sense of inclusion in the political process by the average person and a resultant sense of optimism about the future of the country. As we vote moderates out of office, the result is similar – the average person feels more alienated and less optimistic about the direction of the country.