Politics In Moderation

A few weeks ago there was an article on Literally, Darling called “Unapologetic Liberalism.” After reading it, I found that I disagreed with the idea that you can be unapologetic in politics. There is nothing wrong with being a liberal, but “unapologetic” seems to indicate an unwillingness to compromise or explain the reasons behind your choices. However, the American political system is built on the exchange of ideas and defense of decisions. How can you expect anyone to come to an agreement, if you don’t want to explain or defend your choices?

I also disagreed with the idea that more people are moving to the extreme sides of each party. I find more of my friends and classmates falling somewhere in the middle, but due to our two-party system, find that they are forced to pick sides. They do not want the government taking all their money for taxes, but they also believe that healthcare should be affordable and available at every economic level. They dislike the Tea Party and Socialism; they disagree with these two extremes, which are making it easy for government shutdowns and partisan bickering to occur on a daily basis. I especially find myself stuck—after all, what do you label a black woman who believes in the 2nd Amendment, gay marriage, lower taxes, and is pro-choice? I do not fit anywhere in our prescribed two-party system—I abhor socialism, but do not believe that complete free-market capitalism, which often exploits the underprivileged, is the answer.

Now America finds itself constantly at war, with the Republicans blaming the Democrats, and vice versa. The problem with proclaiming that one party is more at fault than the other is that we forget who put them there in the first place. We continue to elect men and women who ran on extremist platforms. When a Tea Party candidate wins a seat, she sees it as confirmation that people believe her way is the right way, and that she has a responsibility to represent those wishes in Congress. Add an extremely liberal Democrat with the same mandate and you have a huge conflict, where even when the members themselves might want to find a middle ground, they worry about the backlash from their constituents. Moderates find it hard to run and win presidential elections because you have to appeal to everyone, and tend to run on more extreme platforms. We find ourselves in a cycle of finger-pointing and using one party as the scapegoat for all our problems.

However, Americans seem to forget that this system is not perfect and can be changed. The Founding Fathers did not take a class called Government Creation 101; they just knew that they did not want to belong to England any more, and that freedom should be the foundation of the new government. This began “the great American experiment,” but it is just that: an experiment that can be adjusted and added to. After all, they were not even sure that once created, the government would even last ten years. It was not perfect then, and some of the world’s brightest men spent months locked in a tiny room creating it, so we should not be afraid of tweaking it. When I read about the latest disagreement, I wonder how we have made it this far with the constant partisan disagreements. Maybe we need to go back and read the Constitution again—after all, it is just a giant compromise.

So here is my answer to Republicans and Democrats on the extreme spectrum: If we have to label ourselves by party, then consider me a member of a new third party, the Moderates. We know we can’t have everything we want, and that we are not always right. We believe that childish arguments and name-calling not only weaken our party, but the country as a whole. Welcome to the party of concessions and agreements. We can agree to respectfully disagree, but to continue to allow extremists to force the agenda and create a more polarized country is unacceptable.

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