If you have views on both the right and left side of the political spectrum, you’re probably a centrist. Although you may feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, it’s likely the majority of registered voters are centrists/moderates despite their official registration to one party of the other.
Right now, centrists are the quiet group. It may seem daunting that so many insults are flying from conservatives toward liberals and from liberals toward conservatives. Yet, we’re really seeing the minority, the folks who are the most hyper-partisan and therefore the loudest. Those of us who have some views which would be considered right-sided and some views which would be considered left-sided aren’t really saying too much of anything because we risk being insulted by people both sides. Even more so, centrist people are those that look at our present day political circumstances and the responses of the American people, and we feel disconnected and disappointed. To us, it seems like people on both sides have lost their way, if not their minds.
Over half of registered voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. It stands to reason that some just don’t get into politics and others did not feel they could, in good conscious, place a vote for any of the candidates. With modern day technology in a time of social media frenzy, it’s likely that even those who usually don’t get into politics knew that this election seemed important, and screwed up.
Yet, 23% of registered voters in America pulled through to put Donald Trump in the seat of the presidency. Understand this, even after the election, in seeing how each candidate responded to the results, as America has been informed of hacking, election fraud, scandals, and conspiracies – it’s the case that almost all of that 23% still backs Trump and almost all of the Clinton voters still back her. No matter what happens over the next four years, that is not likely to change.
Yet, the centrists (and those who are generally politically disinterested), might just be a majority in our country. There’s power in that, and the power isn’t necessarily political, it’s the power of neutrality and common sense. There’s power in being able to have nonjudgmental conversations with people on both sides. Conversations go nowhere when each person starts out as seeing the other as enemy because of bipartisan allegiance. Power exists within having a moral lens to look through, together, rather than having bipartisan glasses on. If you can switch the lens, to a simple moral lens, it is very likely you might start seeing that people on the left and on the right agree with one another.
If you’re a centrist and talk to people on both sides, you may already see that conservatives and liberals actually do agree on a lot of things. You may also see that a person with a lot of liberal views thinks he/she is a conservative and thus votes with blind party allegiance, and vice versa. Witnessing this is a maddening to the centrist. Conversations that contain nothing but rhetoric, from either side, are equally as maddening. Right now, centrists have an open door to being very influential, because this is a time of immense political confusion. Influencing some basic, common sense conversations, can be a start to help clearing out the radical bi-partisan arguments that prevent progress.
On Nov 29th, the New York Times published an op-ed titled, The Future of the American Center . The writer sites the challenges the American center will face if they can somehow get together to form a different political atmosphere:
“Going forward, moderates face four big challenges. First, deepen a positive national vision that is not merely a positioning between left and right. Second, elevate a new generation of political leaders so the movement is not just a retread of retired establishment types.
Third, build a mass movement of actual voters, not just financiers and think-tank johnnies. Fourth, have the courage to stand together as a swing legislative caucus, when the pressure from the party leaderships becomes intense.”
More than ever, Americans are starting to see the need for a centrist movement. Those of us who have been quiet don’t have to become insulting, or even hyper-political, to have the power to bring our fellow Americans together. We’re the only hope for a unified country, and we can do our work by staying neutral, being diplomatic, and having conversations that connect the common points of both sides. In other words, the moderates can inspire others through the realm of diplomacy and mature, common sense conversations.