I’ve been grappling with the idea that all my ‘conservative’ friends believe me to be a “raging liberal” and thereby patently, clinically and categorically insane; while my significantly fewer-in-number ‘liberal’ friends, consider me to somewhat backward, parsimonious and genetically deficient. Fruitlessly, I’ve proclaimed myself to be a moderate, perhaps a progressive moderate. Regardless, if I didn’t agree with some popularized Gorish or Limbaughian commentary, I was outed.
This confuses me greatly. Needing some perspective, I recalled a time in my youth at High School. Nixon was running for his second term as President and 18 year olds had been given our franchise to vote. I registered as a Democrat for three key reasons; a fondness for JFK, a fear of Nixon, and I assumed my Mother would ground me for treason if I went GOP. However, there was only one active political group welcoming to us young Baby Boomers, the Young Republicans. Amazingly they allowed me to I join, a professed bona fide Democrat and the permitted me to plan and participate in their Get Out the Vote program. It was an ideologically agnostic, altruistic and magnanimous experience.
This experience set my expectations and provided direction 30 years later as the elected Chairman of Coventry Connecticut’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a board of seven; four Democrats and three Republicans. It was perhaps the most rewarding political experience of my life. We worked together famously, without rancour or derisive behaviour and we performed extremely well; we were all so blissfully innocent and preternaturally wise.
My first bitter taste came in the last year of my second term, when asked privately by the then Town Council Chair. Her desire was to see if I could somehow ensure that a certain someone with a pending appeal was granted their exception. She said feared the motivations of the Republicans and since it appeared that I had “good control” of the board she was certain I could see it through. She was not terribly thrilled when I informed her that;
- I didn’t control the board we all made an effort to work together.
- The Republican members were as good and decent as the Democratic members.
- My advice, make sure they satisfied the legal requirements, if they did so they would prevail.
Predictably, the petitioners presented no evidence or justifications and consequently the were unanimously denied their request. Subsequently, the Town’s Democratic Party apparatchiks found me wanting and I was asked not to run for a third term.
That was nearly 10 years ago.
I came believe that all parties are at their core inherently corrupt, corrupted or corruptible. The corruption is driving further and deeper changes in the political landscape. Politicians today are ever so much more divisive, so binary, so monochromatic that we’re no longer permitted to adopt a centrist identity. The resulting rancour and polarization is terribly damaging and affecting our society and our country and even our basic relationships with one another.
Our past President put it best during his farewell address, that is President George Washington in 1796.
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
Old George wasn’t just the tallest rich-guy sporting Rock Maple Dentures, he was damn smart.
I believe that one possible solution is to give the “Silent Majority” a political identity. To that end, I propose an organization of ‘affiliated centrists’, the politically laid back people who want balanced benefits, common sense morality and their just desserts. Who prefer reasonable discussion over fevered rhetoric, humor over anger, serenity to angst. That organization is the Mediocratic Party, a party of moderation, where under-achievement is acceptable so long as your intentions are good, where we believe in opportunity to fail, where blind obedience to the left or right is doomed to fail. A party truly for the concerned independent.
There will be no party conventions, no dues, no platforms, no PACs, no dark money funds. We will only wag our favorite flying digits at those shameful ne’er do wells and extremists that cause us to consume Tums and Prilosec.
Now since it appears that both the Democratic and Republican parties contain constituent extremists, I allow that we should as well. Amongst the unaffiliated Mediocratic the following wings have been identified;
- those totally “unconcerned” with societal matters; unless it affects the cost of beer or cigarettes or demands bikers to wear a motorcycle helmet,
- and those who are wish to demonstrate their independence through lack of committal or feigned indifference.
Now if you’re been independent of the parties care to join in, simply follow the following steps. Or just a few. Or do nothing. All I ask is that when asked “What are your political beliefs?” simply adopt a blissful gaze and say, “Moderation, moderation in all things, including moderation…”
For repentant Democrats, Republicans, Tea or Coffee partiers, Libertarians and extremists, please follow the entire 12 step recovery program.
Step 1. I admit that the typical registered Democrat or Republican is really powerless and thereby unable determine their own destiny.
Step 2. I believe that there is a Mediocre Power capable of restoring us to sanity.
Step 3. I’ve decided to trust our care to leaders who are neither charismatic or bombastic; blissfully so-so but really mean well.
Step 4. I’ve taken a moral inventory of our county and it scares me.
Step 5. I’ve admitted to posting on Facebook memes, humorous anecdotes and one liners to mask my true feeling or unfriending or blocking some of my more extremist acquaintances.
Step 6. I am ready for God to remove all signs of extremism.
Step 7. I humbly ask that you not burden me with your shortcomings, or at least keep them to yourself.
Step 8. I have a list and I’m checking it twice.
Step 9. I believe apologising is for Democrats, proselytizing is for Republicans.
Step 10. What you don’t know, hasn’t hurt you, just saying.
Step 11. I gave this a little thought.
Step 12. I’ve got a headache, we might just be better off as practicing alcoholics.
To those few of you who have managed to process all of this and are ready to not commit, I grant you manumission. You are now free to emancipate the country.