Summer Rerun #1: Advice for the Thinking Moderate
Since I’m on vacation and trying not to think too hard, I thought this would be the ideal time for summer reruns of New Moderate columns from 2009 — our first year as a full-fledged blog. Daily readership in those days numbered in the low-to-mid double digits, so these columns will be new to most of you. I’ve picked out a few that are still relevant in 2012… and I’ll run them every couple of days until we return to live action.
Do moderates really need to think? Can’t we just examine the opinions of the extremists and take the average?
Afraid not. There’s more to being a moderate than dwelling in the middle. The midpoint has its charms, but we moderates could use a little more imagination, fire and gusto if we want to see our ideas prevail. That’s right — we need ideas, too. And the more original, the better.
Example: Both right-wing and left-wing groups depend heavily on lobbying, the unsavory practice of allowing special interests to fund the campaigns and pet projects of senators and congressmen in exchange for “favors.” The lobbyists fill a politician’s pockets, and they expect said politician to push their agendas in return. In other words, our elected representatives can be bought — and believe it or not, it’s all perfectly legal.
Where does a conscientious thinking moderate stand on lobbying? There’s no middle ground here, because the left and right seem to be in perfect agreement that lobbying is a politically (and financially) useful practice. We moderates can’t simply “take the average” on this issue and walk away. We need to stand up, stick our heads out of our cozy foxholes and denounce the practice of paid lobbying until somebody listens… until it becomes unacceptable and eventually illegal for private interests to play puppeteer with the representatives of the people.
What will it take for American moderates to grow into their destined role as outspoken champions of impartiality and fair play? Our republic and its ideals are being frittered away by a combination of partisanship, corruption and inertia. Thinking moderates everywhere need to renounce their traditional role as quiet and dispassionate onlookers. We’ve been too polite. We need to let ourselves get angry now and then, to awaken our inner Patrick Henrys (are you down there, Patrick?) and let fly a good resounding salvo in defense of our beliefs.
Come on, moderates, let’s find our voice!