It is my belief that our nation needs both crowds to move us forward, one pointing out the missteps of the other and offering solutions, while the other listens and moves when necessary. It is also my belief that people like myself should stand up and be counted during times of such partisan polarization.
I have come to understand that being a Moderate is quite a good thing in today's climate. The thing about moderation (it almost seems Biblical, doesn't it- I think the Buddhists like it also) during these perilous times is that you are misjudged, labeled, seen as a sell-out or thought to have no spine. It seems strange for partisans to find someone that dislikes the President and his policies as much as me, yet not be a card carrying Democrat (since 1994, my voter's registration card has read I). It is my belief that to be able to stand as a prophetic voice (as a Christian and as a Pastor), I must not be a political partisan, offering allegiance to any political party (I have issues with Bush or Kerry stickers on cars at church).
While I lean to the left on many issues, I am not interested in the simplistic explanations classic Liberalism offers. While I skew to the right on other issues, I see no reason to demonize those I disagree with. As a political junkie and policy hound I enjoy, appreciate and am influenced by voices as disparate as John McCain, Barak Obama, the entire NY Times staff, Rudy G, John Edwards, Lindsay Graham, Jim Wallis and William Buckley. I actually think reason, sensibility and practicality are the marks of good politics, journalism and debate. It is probably why I enjoy listening to NPR and watching the evening news and cannot deal with the inanity of Talk Radio and the Screamers on Fox, CNN and MSNBC.
As I stand to declare myself a RIM*, I offer this wonderfully moderate assessment of the need for all sides to get serious about sacrifice presently. the ever reasonable E. J. Dionne offers these thoughts;
[These examples] point to a larger, philosophical problem. Ask Americans of whatever political persuasion to describe what the United States stands for and one of the first words you're likely to hear is "freedom." Many, in turn, translate freedom into the slogan: "Leave me alone." Law schools don't want to be burdened by having to receive those recruiters, taxpayers don't want to be
burdened with paying the cost of war, or of treating our veterans right.
Here is the paradox: Preserving individual freedom requires collective action. There is no way around this, even if we Americans don't much like that word "collective."A society that celebrates individual striving and personal fulfillment depends on the willingness of some to serve and sacrifice for the rest of us. And that spirit of service will not thrive unless all of us not only acknowledge our debts but also make some contribution- personal, material or both - of our own.
*RADICALLY INDEPENDENT MODERATE