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Centrist America

by on October 19, 2010

I write a lot about politics.  In my world-view, that’s frequently the topic to write about on this blog over social commentary.  Most topics begin with or return to politics, and so it’s not a surprise.  I’m not sorry, exactly, that politics is frequently the topic; it is my life, and, as I say, most things begin with or return to politics.  I don’t mean to write about politics exclusively, but once again, here I go writing about politics.

I get to talk to a lot of you, my friends.  Some of you see me as the political Buddha; I often advocate patience and calmness and reason.  And once again, I’m talking about patience and political moderation, although my desire is that things improve much more quickly than what I advocate as reasonable and likely.

In September, 2010, 34.6% of adults were Democrats, and 33.1% were Republicans, according to Rasmussen data. That’s fairly fairly consistent with past yearly averages, and leaves room for 30% who say they belong to neither party (at this point, a solid amount of that 30% are Tea Party folk).  My point is this: there’s always a third of America that belongs to neither party, and since Democrat is ‘left’ and Republican is ‘right’, a lot of America is ‘centrist.’  As B. Barber writes in basic summary – or maybe I’m just tired:

[There’s a] broad spectrum of attitudes we have about government, from total individualist enmity to any and all government to total collectivist affinity for the most corporatist forms of government. The spectrum reads, from pure liberty to pure statism as follows: anarchism, libertarianism, constitutional republicanism, liberal democracy, welfare state democracy, social democracy, socialism, communism (Marxism) and corporatism.

…America has been defined by this centrist debate about how to reconcile individual liberty and democratic egalitarianism, both being seen as valuable. Socialism has never been an American option and certainly is not one today. If anything, the center of the debate has moved slighted to the right.

And he writes of the cries of ‘socialist!’ and ‘Communist!’ and everything else being leveled against our government,

President Obama is a market-leaning liberal democrat. Nancy Pelosi is a vigorous advocate of the welfare state and of the social safety net, and she wants to regulate the runaway banks. But that’s not communism, folks, that’s liberal democracy, and reflects a less egalitarian agenda than the ones pushed by LBJ or FDR.

I’m given the feeling that I’m preaching to the choir here.  Or you’ll read this and say ‘BDOLE, Obama’s a socialist, how can you not see it?’  We (all of us, I would hazard a guess) tend to have some capability to see more than one point of view at the same time, even if our certainty in our own view creates tunnel-vision certainty, which means that we are all progressive, conservative, and centrist at the same time.  Centrist being in the middle of the other views, even if political views are circular and not linear, many of us can see a centrist view, which, Barber is trying to point out, is the usual outcome of politics.

As one final thought, I’d like to add that I’m not suggesting that the Tea Party is by nature centrist.  It is, however, neither Democrat nor Republican.

From → Politics, US Politics

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on The Dole Blog and commented:

    An article from ten years ago remains quite accurate. Once again people are pushing from what they – wrongly – perceive to be centrism.

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