Michael Bennet sat in the editorial offices of the Cedar Rapids Gazette forcefully advocating moderation. His gentle hand thumps on the table punctuated an earnest equanimity. He was passionate about centrism. His plans mirror the plans of Warren and Sanders, they just cost less, aren’t quite as radical. Even though the Colorado Senator is polling at less than 1 percent, he insists he’s staying in the race through the New Hampshire primaries because someone needs to take his bold stance of centrism.
In this time of political extremism, there is something in the party that clamors for passivity. As Joe Biden’s Front Runner status slips and recent polls show the race tightening, there are many in the party advocating a more temperate candidate. You know, someone who won’t scare people with bold new ideas or being black or Latinx, or some combination thereof.
Self-declared moderates wring their hands saying they will vote for anyone but Trump, but are despairing of their choices. Meanwhile, candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bennet, and the morass of white men still peppering the field jockey to be the next Biden. Even Joe Biden is fighting to be the next Biden. But fighting to be the next Joe Biden is like fighting to be the next limp piece of white bread in the political toaster.
In the words of the late, great Molly Ivins, “Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone.” In politics, moderation is an approach to getting things done. It shouldn’t be an approach to values. And in this political moment, moderation is simply a lack of courage — it’s a cowering and prevarication to appease the status quo of power and the status quo of power only. There is no “both sides” to violating the Constitution. And equivocating on morality because you are worried about polls is moral ineptitude.
According to the Pew Research Center, the independence of voters is largely hyped, but in actuality quite rare. Truly independent voters are not politically active. This “so-called” middle is more of a fiction than an actuality — a false narrative spun out of fear. And pleas from conservatives to liberals to give them someone better to vote for are calls in bad faith. It’s not the job of Democrats to run a Republican. Republicans ran a Republican and now he’s facing impeachment for corruption. Face the consequences of your own vote.
Also, the extremism being side-eyed by Democrats in this race involves such radical issues as — grab your pearls — trying to prevent people from dying from a lack of health care and equality for all, including queer people and trans people. How did it become extreme to say we shouldn’t put children in cages at the border? Why is it so extreme to vote for a woman? I mean, sure is implementing a new health care system going to be hard? Yeah, but is it better than letting people die uninsured? If you are waffling on that question, you’ve strayed from God’s light. What kind of courage does it take? While, the Bully in Chief shouts and raves and violates the actual law, politicians across the country sitting in their offices, tepidly tapping tables, and wringing their hands over polling. The only result of straddling this line is a moral wedgie.
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