Why Centrism is Necessary in a Politically Torn World

 · 3 mins read

This is my article from issue #8 of 2017 in Cupertino High School’s newspaper, The Prospector

Aristotle favored conciliatory politics dominated by the center rather than the extremes of great wealth and poverty or the special interests of oligarchs and tyrants. This approach remains true even centuries after his death. It offers the most pragmatic and reasonable solution to many issues facing the United States. The current malaise in our political system is that the political landscape of our nation is divided, with two opposing major political parties with contradictory viewpoints on important issues. This results in extreme candidates on either side who score political wins at the ballot and in power by staking positions far from the center. By doing so, they set up both themselves and the country to fail by refusing to use the power of negotiation and collaboration. This, in turn, leads to delay in passing significant legislature. One classic example is that America’s two major parties often have serious arguments related to healthcare and military. This conflict has persisted with no clear resolution in sight. This is the direct result of having two extreme viewpoints at the center.

The solution to these extreme viewpoints is to be a moderate and use one’s own logic instead of pledging allegiance to a particular organization. One example is Conor Lamb, the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, who, with his liberal policies, won the Pennsylvania special election. Although he ran as a Democrat, he supported a few Republican viewpoints. One such example is that he is pro-gun, and this fact appeals to many on the right. Americans should look at examples like this when deciding on which political figure to support.

Another example of moderate politics is Michael Bloomberg, who does not affiliate with a party. He got support from many and was able to become mayor of New York City. He drastically improved the state of the city, by cleaning it up and reducing crime. He is an outstanding example of being independent and vouching for the correct policies than standing for what the party believes in. While many of his policies do seem to lean left, he can make change and not be stuck in government gridlock by staying out of political parties. Even more, this enables him to make his own political decisions without third-party influence.

Yes, it is very difficult to stay a moderate in modern times. For the first time in human history, either a conservative or liberal can wall themselves into only hearing news with the same political bias. Liberals can tune into MSNBC, read the Huffington Post, and listen to NPR. Conservatives have their own assortment to choose from, including Fox News and the Cato Institute. However, it is more important than ever for citizens to make up their own minds on particular political topics. By affiliating yourself with a side, one is restricted from adopting ideas from the other side to gain a better understanding of what one wants from his or her politicians. Centrism provides a better way for Americans to engage with the political system.

There are many benefits of being a moderate, the most important being that one is not tied to a party, and thus, not tied to a specific side on a policy. It gives personal freedom to think clearly and follow policies which are meaningful for the betterment of society. A person can have controversial opinions on both sides and not be criticized. It gives a person the freedom to back legislation that is important to him or her, and not just back what is important for the party.

As with most politics, politicians have different expectations, points of view, and answers to problems, making it difficult difficult to find a candidate that agrees with all of our views. We can only hope that change will occur gradually and people can see the moderate viewpoint and the benefits they bring to society.