Upfront, I apologize for this being so long.
Generally speaking, I should not be using this site for political comment because I do not want to alienate readers, but I am going to make a comment this one time. I think that what I have to say is not about one party versus the other or one candidate versus the other, but more about one of the mistakes we are making in the way we view our political system. I think, if we change that, we would start to resolve some of our social and political problems.
It seems to me that we, as a nation of people, are so polarized that it has become difficult to ever see a path toward coalescence, and this polarization is creating conflict:
- between males and females,
- between gun owners and those who would limit gun ownership,
- between those who believe in the rights of a woman to control her reproductive system versus those who would place limits on those rights,
- between races and origins,
- between economic classes,
- between people of differing sexual orientation (weird way of describing that, I think)
- and between people with varying levels of education.
Instead of a nation of 322 million people working as a team to solve our problems, we are fracturing our culture and breaking ourselves up into competing teams. I believe we can easily find evidence that this approach is not only not solving our problems, but may be creating additional problems.
The problem, as I see it, is that we view our political orientation as being either Right (conservatives), Middle (moderates), or Left (Liberals). It is a plane that serves as a sliding scale where folks who are very conservative see themselves as having nothing in common with folks who are very liberal. It looks like this.
This system came to us from the French National Assembly in the late 1780s. The labels of Left and Right came about because of where politicians sat, in relationship to the president, based upon their beliefs regarding the government. Those who sat to the left did so because they believed in revolution while those who sat to the right believed in religion and the king. The press used the labels Left and Right as a means of easily describing a politician’s position on the issue of revolution or support for the king. Today, as we apply this model to our country, we tend to make it a ‘one or the other’ scenario – no liberal can agree with a conservative and vice versa or the press tells us the sky is falling.
I believe the model we use to describe our political system would better serve us if it were a circle instead of a plane. I feel it should look like this.
With this model, we can see where Liberals on the extreme left and Conservatives on the extreme right (both considered radicals) can often have similar ideals regarding such issues as government involvement in our lives. It would explain why the ACLU often has similar ideals regarding the Constitution as do Libertarians. Oddly enough, people whose politics tend to be radical in either the Liberal or Conservative ideology tend to be polar opposite of people who consider themselves Moderate.
The model I’ve drawn is not quite accurate but it is the best I can do. The reality is that the blue Moderate range extends more into the Liberal and Conservative ranges, when seen as a percent of the population. For most social issues such as gun ownership, women’s reproductive rights, involvement in the wars of other countries, etc., better than 60% of the population fall in the moderate range.
I look forward to your feedback on this.