- Posted January 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Search for the Elusive Moderate - Redux
On October 21, 2011, I did a report called, "In Search of the Elusive Moderate". Now here we are 15 months later and I am no closer than then in finding my prey. Moderates continue to be hiddened away and difficult to find. In light of the rhetoric coming out on social media and from inside the Beltway more commonly known as Washington DC, it seems only appropriate to once more broach the subject.
If we continue to allow the speech and divisiveness to percolate as it has for the last decade we will not progress, but rather divide into entrenched camps of ideological dogma which could tear apart the Republic we all profess to love and want to protect and preserve.
I am the first to admit that I don't seem to fit into anyone's mode. It doesn't matter if we are talking politics, social issues, religion or whatever. I tend to think my own thoughts, form my own opinions and follow my own rat-a-tat-tat.
OK, so a lot of people find me weird. I really do eschew and hate how categories and labels are thrown around. I prefer to just refer myself as human or a person. But, I have had to come to face that this view is more ideologically impossible and less realistically possible. Professors, researchers, doctors, this "ologist" and that "ologist" some how always manage to find a way to categorize or bunch similar thinking people, even non-similar thinking people, into some hole or another.
As I began to delve and study this issue, the more I began to realize that what I was in search for was the elusive moderate. That individual that tried to be objective and rational and find a middle-of-the-road approach to all things in life.
I guess part of why this seemed to be where I may best fit in is partly because of my firm belief in what the Apostle Paul advocated in his letters to the churches he established, which to do everything in moderation.
But as I researched I learned, especially in politics, the moderate is quite elusive and hard to define. This may seem to be difficult to digest when according to the research 70% of Americans and mostly Independents claim to be moderates.
One source I found (just do a Google search of moderate) it stated:
In politics and religion, a moderate is an individual who is not extreme, partisan or radical.
The same source also pointed out:
Aristotle favoured conciliatory politics dominated by the centre rather than the extremes of great wealth and poverty or the special interests of oligarchs and tyrants.
So, it would seem that the search for the moderate has been going on for centuries. Yet, more recent authors suggest moderates don't exist. The same source stated:
George Lakoff, author of The Political Mind, argues that moderates do not exist, because there is no definitive political ideology of the moderate. Therefore, he believes it is impossible for a group of people to gather as 'moderates' as each would have different views. This means that for moderate political views to become mainstream, a big tent form of party would be required.
I am a member of CNN's iReport community and as such have discovered the moderate may have no place. It would seem that the extremes are much more prevalent. They are definitely more vocal and at times can be quite cutting and unforgiving.
Quite often moderation and centrism are lumped together. A centrist tries the middle of the road between the extreme right and the extreme left.
One source in my search for the elusive moderate revealed:
In politics, centrism is the ideal or the practice of promoting policies that lie different from the standard political left and political right. Most commonly, this is visualized as part of the one-dimensional political spectrum of left-right politics, with centrism landing in the middle between left-wing politics and right-wing politics. Centrist ideologies tend to focus around policies such as progressive taxation, civil liberties/human rights, economic liberalism and social liberalism.
Yet we find that many people continue to claim they are moderates and at the same time align with one political party or the other. Is that possible?
According to one of my resources:
The term political moderate can generally be used to describe someone who doesn't hold views on the far edges of the political spectrum. Some of these people may identify with a particular party, or they may describe themselves as independents. If they consider themselves members of a party, a political moderate will often be open-minded about ideas from the opposition parties, and they generally aren't very partisan on many issues.
The position of a moderate is affected by a number of variables. What is considered moderate may vary from country to country. What may have been a moderate view in one century may be extreme in another century.
One source gave this opinion:
The actual stance on issues of a political moderate can vary significantly depending on the era and the country they live in. As issues change, the concept of politically moderate viewpoints changes as well. Many people who would have been described as political moderates in the 1800s could be considered fringe extremists in more recent times, and the same can be true for different countries or locations. For example, a moderate viewpoint in one nation might be on the far fringe in another nearby country, and the reasons for these differences may be cultural or religious.
As I continue to pursue the elusive moderate, it becomes clearer and clearer that finding my target may be more difficult than I expected. It would also appear that perhaps such a creature may not after all actually exist. Yet on the other hand, perhaps the complexity of a moderate may be his/her best camouflage.
This is best described from this source:
Some individuals who could be described as political moderates actually hold some beliefs that aren't necessarily considered middle-of-the-road. In cases like this, the designation of political moderate is based on the whole spectrum of their political beliefs. Even though they may hold a few beliefs on the far edges, their overall philosophy is much more centrist. Many moderates don’t really feel comfortable with any political party, but their views often lean in one direction or another to some degree.
So does this mean my search for the elusive moderate should be terminated?
Should I disavow the moderate position as unsustainable and undefinable?
No, for now I think I shall, as much as I hate labels and categories, cast my lot and proudly declare, "I am a Moderate," From the Cornfield.