Like Me, America Has A Big Middle; Ignore At Your Own Peril

After my work out today, I was sitting in the steam room. A friend of mine came in, and we started talking about the condition of the world, specifically Washington, DC. He, like I abhor the current impeachment proceedings. We both see it as a huge waste of time and money. I told him there is a lack of leadership being demonstrated by the people involved, but I think that is the plan. For some reason, the party pushing this thinks it will convince those of us in the middle that our President is Satan incarnate. Lawyers attacking children, congress men and women, attacking people testifying, it is a horrible example of what our country leaders are capable of doing.

I am a little sensitive to this because I am watching “The Man in the High Castle,” on Amazon Prime. It is an amazing look at what could have been if Japan and Germany won World War II. As I watch this show, I see the horrible injustices perpetrated by the oppressors, and the actions of the resistance as they pass around films that portray what could have been. I am in the first season and I am interested to see where this goes.

As I watch the impeachment proceedings, and as much as it upsets me, it reminds me of a saying that is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It occurred when he was leaving the Constitutional Convention. Franklin was approached by a group of people who asked him what sort of government the delegates had created. He is thought to have said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” I think we can keep it. As much garbage as there is being presented to us with these proceedings, it is the way our political processes work. I think I need to just relax.

This is not the first time a president has gone through this. It will not be the last either. One of our most popular presidents, Abraham Lincoln, had to sneak into Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. People were so angry with his election that he feared for his life. We’ve had presidents assassinated, we’ve had chaotic political times before and we continue on. This time will be no different. The reason I say this is because, just like me, America has a big middle.

William Galston in the WSJ today wrote a wonderful editorial discussing the results of a recent survey that demonstrates the political center is still alive regardless of what the left or right says. Galston warns, “Both political parties ignore this center at their peril.” The New Center, a bipartisan policy institute, survey shows that 43% of the respondents place themselves on the left-right continuum in the center. 34% say they are on the right. 23% list themselves on the left. Galston writes about how Republicans and Democrats aligned themselves, but I am an independent, so I am curious what other people like me feel. “Fully 60% identify with the center, compared with 22% who claim the right, and 17% the left.”

When I read comments like this the first thing I want to do, is look at the methodology. Who did they survey? Was the method used robust enough to produce a reliable product? Or, was there bias designed in the survey? Remember, for my PhD studies I had to answer those same questions when designing my survey. I do like the results I see in Galston’s editorial.

The people responding to the questions said, “[we] reject the stark choice between a large, activist government and a small limited one. Also, they believe there’s a legitimate role for government in allocating capital, providing healthcare for those who can’t afford it, and combating climate change.” I get that, and I have written about that in my blogs.

When it comes to social issues the center, “rejects the extreme of abortion on demand and a total ban on the practice, and similarly for extreme positions on gun control.” I can live with this, it makes sense. On the issues of religious freedom and social media there is a middle way that the survey respondents identify as important. The center still sees America as a force for good in the world.

What do I think? I don’t like Trump’s style, but I think the people who voted for him want him to do what he is doing. He is shaking things up, and as my friend told me today in the steam room, he is exposing the problems within our political system. However, I also think the media is inflaming the situation with its sensationalism. The news is not reported, it creates a narrative. NPR claims to be unbiased, but when dealing with current politics every question these journalists ask people they are interviewing is skewed to push the person into a negative perspective on Trump, Republicans, and Evangelicals. ABC, NBC, CNN, and Fox all create narratives instead of reporting what happened. To make up my own mind, I’ll read the Columbian, a local paper, the Wall Street Journal, the CNN app, and Fox App. Once in a while I’ll look at BBC. Through those outlets I make up my own mind. Each app or paper have their own narrative they espouse. Rather than just adapt myself to that perspective, I chose to decide for myself.

I am in the center politically and socially. I just don’t care for extremes. The policies of Warren, Sanders, and most of the Democrats have been pushed too far to the left. The Republicans have been pushed too far to the right. There are a bunch of us in the middle that now identify as independent. There are candidates that claim to be in the middle, Kasich on the Republican side and Tulsi Gabbard on the left, who seem interesting to me. Kasich didn’t beat Trump and Gabbard has not qualified for the next Democratic debate.

I do think there is a human desire to ignore the extremes. As they say, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That may not always be true, but I think in many instances it is true. So, politicians pay attention to the middle. Because we are watching.

And that is my thought for the day!

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