It’s been a tough year for political moderation.
As I passed my 65th birthday this past September, I am reminded that I have had the opportunity to watch the state of politics in the US since the 1950’s to today. I’ve seen quite a lot of change. Some good …. and a lot not so good.
The first election I can really remember much about was Kennedy vs Nixon in 1960. My mother, in particular, was totally enamored by John F. Kennedy and his family. Mom didn’t care much at all about position papers, she just liked Kennedy’s style. And he did have style! Richard Nixon did not. (It took Nixon years to learn to look and speak decently on television!)
I don’t recall many issues from back then (I was around 10 at the time), but I do know that Kennedy accomplished a lot of things in his short tenure. He challenged us all to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” He had the courage to stand up to Khrushchev and the Soviet Union’s placement of nuclear arms in Cuba, and he challenged us to reach for the Moon by the end of the 1960’s. He supported tax cuts to spur business growth. And reached out to help oppressed people overseas fight back against the scourge of Communism.
In other words, he was a pretty conservative fellow by today’s standards!
Here in Washington State, we were represented by Democrats like Henry Jackson, and Republicans like Dan Evans. Moderates all.
None of whom could be elected today. None.
Doesn’t make any difference which side of the aisle you are on, there are no more moderates welcome on the political stage. In order to make the activists, and the money brokers, happy a candidate (and his/her ideas) must cater to and placate only the extremes.
Which means very little good is happening. Just gridlock because of extremist ideology.
An example …. “Political correctness” continues to stifle free speech and our religious rights. The victimization culture continues to gloss over real issues for sensationalism. We have so many people yelling, a majority of people have stopped listening.
After years of “discrimination,” members of the LGBT community won the right to marry. Ok, fine. What someone does in their own home with their gender identity is their business, not mine. When some “gay” couple decides to have a wedding, they find that a staunchly Christian (or Muslim) owned business prefers not to participate. So they go nuts – calling on the government to intervene in this “discrimination.” Lawsuits are filed. The Christian owned business is sometimes even punished (fined) by the government for their religious beliefs. Then, a lot of Christian folks get upset about this discrimination against their beliefs, and they work to pass a law to protect Christian owned businesses against that kind of discrimination. And so it spins out of control … one side against the other.
I have observed over the years that name calling and lawyers are never a good mix when you want to solve a problem!!
But, the solution is so easy. Stop yelling. Stop suing. Find another baker/caterer/photographer who doesn’t disagree with your lifestyle choice and enjoy your day. Then the Christian baker/caterer/photographer doesn’t have to go out of business or pay fines, and the state legislature doesn’t have to pass a law to protect them!! We all just get along.
Jesus (basically) said: “Treat your neighbor as you, yourself, would like to be treated.” If both sides of society’s conflicts would just follow this simple rule, most of our conflicts would disappear.
And, then, the political moderates can once again speak out and serve all Americans … and not just the extremes.