The Concerns of a Moderate
Ambivalence is just the beginning
Politics in the United States are dominated by the extremes. This statement is not meant to imply that all politicians are extremist, leaning heavily right or heavily left. In fact, I believe that most politicians start off believing that they can compromise, make changes and better the United States for their constituents. Once elected though, things change. You have to choose a side - Republican or Democrat. Right or Left.
With the current political climate in the United States, choosing a side means conforming to the extremes of your side. Don't believe me? Earlier this year both Republicans and Democrats broke their previous records of voting along party lines, 92% for Republicans and 94% for Democrats. What this means, is that whether or not every member of their party agreed on a bill or law, our elected officials voted with the rest of their party just to be in disagreement with the other side. If the percentages were lower I might draw different conclusions, but as it stands our leaders are playing a dangerous game of extremism and inaction.
Because of these issues I find myself, as well as many other moderates, become ambivalent to the system. We still vote. We research candidates and issues to try to make the most educated choices, but ultimately I end up feeling like nothing I've done, none of my effort has made any difference and that our political system has no desire to change and become greater than it is.
As a political moderate I generally disagree with our elected Republicans and Democrats and am consistently disappointed by the inaction that I see and the inability to work together to solve real issues. The two party system is a proving to be a complete failure. Republicans and Democrats that would normally be moderate, open to negotiation and compromise, are stifled and forced to follow the lead of their party.
Another problem is that as a political moderate I don't subscribe to either doctrine. I believe in science, facts and taking all situations into account when making a decision. With parties that refuse to compromise and to look at situations from all angles, or who refuse to take facts into account and only believe their own opinion, our political system becomes broken and we become a joke to our international counterparts.
Because of my inability to relate with our floundering political system, I feel myself drifting toward ambivalence. It shouldn't be this way, I should be more charged to make change, but when my voice is unheard, how can I strive to make change?
What Party Do You Follow?
What political party do you affiliate with?
Media has a huge affect on how the moderate views politics. The media rarely focus' on issues that promote compromise and shows parties working together. Compromise does capture readers or viewers, so instead the focus on the extremes. Since new media is the most common way for the everyday American to get the information on political matters, people begin to believe that our nation is so divided. As the common man begins to believe this our politicians begin to live up to it. They have to in order to continue on. Expectations have been set and if the constituents see their representatives agreeing with the other side, or often parting ways with the bulk of the party, then they will be viewed as weak and potentially fall prey to a more truly extreme candidate in the next election.
And so our politicians stick to voting along party lines, which gets the American people nowhere. No compromise, no change, no progress. A recent Gallup poll put our Congress's approval rating at 14% (http://www.gallup.com/poll/175676/congress-approval-sits-two-months-elections.aspx) one of the lowest ratings ever recorded. In the recent election though, this massive disapproval did not show. Incumbents were reelected to continue doing what they did in their previous terms - nothing. The Republican's won both houses of Congress, but this won't change anything. With a Democrat as President anything they might want to pass that is controversial will just be vetoed at the white house.
For the next two years we can expect to see even less progress and compromise than we saw previously and doomed bills are slammed through both houses to only be vetoed by the president.
Important issues like climate change, education and immigration reform will be largely ignored by congress because these issues require minds that can listen to both sides, form opinions based off of facts and compromise.
If you don't believe that the average American is buying into the extremist of either political side visit any social media form that people can discuss politics on, or read the comments of a political news article. It's frightening the anger and hate that people have for those that disagree with them. Intelligent discourse is not about sticking to ones guns and attacking the other side. Both Republican's and Democrat's are guilty of doing this. They attack each other in ways that destroy any chance for compromise. They state opinions as fact. They discard obvious facts for opinion. The regurgitate what their party says to the media and the media says to them.
I have witnessed political social media destroy friendships and cause rifts in family. It because online there is a buffer between you and the other side. You remove your filter and let loose anything you can to disprove or simply anger the person you are disagreeing with. This same discussions face to face might be different. Understanding for the other persons point of view and why the believe what they are saying could help you to form a new opinion. It could allow you to compromise.
Social media doesn't work that way, especially with topics that are so emotionally charged. When you take an emotionally charged topic and detach emotion through social media, it generally just turns into hate.
You've seen me type it over and over: compromise. As a political moderate this is what I want more than anything. Politicians who are able to compromise. There are times in life where you need to stand up for your beliefs, but that is not on 92-94% of the time. Just think of what our Congress could have accomplished if in only 25% of those instances they had talked about the situations, kept and open mind and compromised to help better the lives of the people the represent.
This represents my biggest problem and fear as a moderate: I don't see a time in the near future where this will change. The only real option to change this is change how campaigns are funded. I won't delve deeply into this, but let it suffice to say that when a decent, well-meaning, candidate enters their name, big money buries them in ad propaganda. It is sickening. It is the reason why decent, well-meaning, candidates do not enter their names in politics.
Eliminate the money and greed and things might change.
A note on comments
As you can probably gather from this hub, I am not emotionally charged, and do not abide my emotional out-lashes. Please keep your comments topical and make them to further intelligent discourse, not to fight with me (which you will not) or to troll others who choose to comment. I will do my best to monitor and eliminate comments that do not further the conversation but degrade it.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing what folks have to say!