Bob Franken

Politics: The Reason to Reason

Why is it that they are so easily scorned and so effectively intimidated? Why is it that the common-sense wishes of the vast majorities of Americans are always suppressed as they trudge the middle-of-the-road…drowned out by the noisy bombs fired from the political fringes.

As the man in “The Graduate” said to Dustin Hoffman’s character “I’ve got one word for you.” Except, unlike the movie, it’s not “Plastic” although that still would describe a lot of our leaders.

The word is “Passion”. The extremists have it, the moderates don’t. Until they do, the “Silent Majority” will continue to be drowned out by “Noisy Minority”.

The big problem is that at first glance, “Passion” and “Moderate” appear to mutually exclusive concepts. But do they need to be?

Is it possible that someone might have an intense desire to improve society or is emotionally pumped by the Competition of Ideas”? Sure it is. Then why do those who enjoy the heat of intelligent jousting leave the battlefield to the simple-minded extremists?

What is so strange is how easily the huge Middle can be shoved to the sideline. Heat and light always trump substance. Reasoning together can be tedious.

So we watch as those in charge operate behind bunkers separated by barbed sound bites and shameless distortions from the fundamentalists on either side. Common sense is the No Man’s Land (Yeah, I know, No PERSONS’ Land).

We end up with ideological wars that always end in stalemate. They’re not only INTER party battles but INTRA party. Democrats all claim to be “Progressives”. Glenn Beck describes. Progressivism as a “cancer”. But the sane, traditional definition is a movement that “favors or advocates change or reform”. Progress.

Like health care reform. The desperate need for change has been made obvious, but even now, there is a huge question whether Democrats will move from their various all-or-nothing rigidities to settle on some less-than-satisfying accomplishment. Don’t bet on it. Progress?

As for the Progressives’ opposite numbers, the Conservatives, about all that unites them right now is stalemate. They are having great success blocking anything Obama.

Their militias have also formed a circular firing squad. They’re arrayed in disarray. In both parties, the demands for purity are poison.

The shame of it is that the far out has tremendous value. That’s usually where the most creative ideas originate which can evolve into genuine progress if they are nurtured into consensus.

But that would require cooperation instead of the divisiveness spouting from those who use cheap shots to prosper. Unless those in the middle rise up and assert themselves we will all continue to have one thing in common.

There is but one word for that: “Disgust”

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