Monday, April 23, 2012

Liberals and Conservatives don't talk to Centrists

If you read thousands of comments on political articles in mainstream publications, you will find precious few addressed to centrists. Mostly it's liberals and conservatives berating and belittling each other--as if all voters are either liberal or conservative.

At least 40% of voters are centrists, and the number rises with every election. Yet we're completely ignored in the primaries, given only passing notice in the actual elections, and almost never addressed directly.

It's amazing. To these guys we're like the dark matter in the universe--unseen and unknowable.

If they think of us at all, they see us as pallid, wishy-washy, indecisive creatures, painted in diluted water colors.

They have no idea that the words "moderate" and "centrist" aren't the same.

There are moderate centrists, all right. There are also moderate liberals and moderate conservatives.

And just as there are radical leftists and rightists, there are also radical centrists.

Radical centrists follow their ideas to their logical conclusions. The difference between them and their radical counterparts in either wing is that radical centrists don't see the world in black and white terms. They see their ideas as trying to conform to reality, and if it turns out they don't match, they change their ideas. Whereas radical leftists and rightists are rigid idealists who don't ultimately care about the reality outside their ideas.

Radical and moderate centrists both support nonpartisan redistricting. But radical centrists support free abortion on demand for everyone everywhere, while moderate centrists make the usual noises about how terrible abortion is and the less the better, while making it strictly a choice between pregnant female and her doctor.

Radical centrists support abortion on demand not because they're radical feminists, but because they realize the world is in an overpopulation crisis. In other words, their extremism derives from the times and places and circumstances in which reality itself has become extreme, not because their eyes are whirling with ideological fervor.

I realize it's largely a waste of time to say all this, though, because political partisans just want to joust with each other, in their bright, clear, world with a bright red line drawn down the middle. We muddy the waters and disturb their neat boxes and categories. So I can understand why they'd rather not deal with us--or simply assume that if we're not totally with them we're totally against them.

So neither group of partisans understand how radical centrists could support abortion but be against illegal immigration. Neither understands how we can see the value in the Left, and Right, and the Middle.

If you are a centrist, though, keep trying to punch through their blindness to anything but each other. Unlike real dark matter, we can force them to recognize us.

After all, we decide every national election. Not them.

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