Moderation key to partisan politics

If 24-hour news channels teach us anything, it’s that there are only two voices in American politics: conservatives and liberals.

We have constant analysis about how this story or that scandal will affect one the base of one of those two political views.

We have the division of America into red and blue states, simply based on which political party usually wins there.

We have a growing tension between political factions with no end in sight because neither side wants to give in on anything.

We have every holiday being hijacked by both wings of American politics, each accusing the other of trying to sabotage the holiday for their own political gain.

However, I don’t fit into any of the above. I am not red or blue, not conservative or liberal, and I don’t care if you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” because I often say both.

When it comes to political issues, what I am is a moderate, stuck right in the middle of the debate.

While there are no official numbers on how many moderates there are, I’d imagine the number is quite large. In most countries, the public majority tends to identify themselves as independent or moderate rather than as a liberal, conservative, or any other political base.

Even though they sometimes get lost in the shuffle, moderates have had a huge impact on American politics.

A bipartisan group of moderate Senators, nicknamed the Gang of 14, were responsible for negotiating a compromise on the vote for three federal judges, and later, Justice Samuel Alito.

Thus, a filibuster was avoided and the 24-hour news channels could focus their attention on other things, like the latest rumors on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ relationship.

Other notable moderates, like Senator John McCain, have worked to reform political fund-raising, rallied against corrupt lobbying in both parties, and helped create compromises when the majority of Republicans and Democrats cannot or refuse to find one on their own. Without these compromises, the halls of Congress would descend into a free-for-all brawl between the Democrats and Republicans.

And I don’t mean the kind of brawl with Ted Kennedy delivering a flying body splash to Bill Frist from the Senate balcony, as cool as that’d be to see.

The kind I’m talking about would be ones that would grind Congress to such a halt that nothing would be able to get done.

So it seems that moderates in power are getting things done.

Unfortunately, for moderates who are just regular citizens, the same cannot be said, and a danger is facing all moderates.

The voice of moderates in the American public is fading, being eaten alive by extreme elements on both sides of the political spectrum.

The last time I remember any concern over how moderates felt about any political topic were the 2004 elections, when Republicans and Democrats in every political contest were trying to draw moderates and independents to vote for them.

That’s the case in any election, leading to a chain of promises by candidates that are routinely broken, leaving us wondering why we voted for them in the first place.

So, the question may be, what can be done to stop this problem?

Moderates in America need to simply do one thing, and do it very loudly: speak up. That’s all.

Speaking up comes in many forms, from things as large as protests to things as small and simple as writing a letter to your elected officials. That is, if we all haven’t forgotten how to write a letter since we have that little thing called e-mail.

What’s really important is that moderates do something to get their voices out there and let our points of view be heard.

That might just be the voice we need to get through some of our biggest debates and find a happy medium for all Americans to agree on.

Send comments to Brian at [email protected].