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    Posted January 29, 2013 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    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.

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