My Turn: Absence of political middle hurts all

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

By Alan K. Menius
How often do we hear “you lefties (or righties) wouldn’t vote for any Republican (Democrat); why can’t you choose based on the person? To be called a leftie (or worse) frustrates me, for it implies that narrow-minded allegiance to a party makes me do and say what I do.
Over many elections, I have voted for Republicans. Sometimes in retrospect I regretted it, but sometimes in retrospect I regretted Democrat votes. Sadly, I do feel it is unlikely I can find a Republican candidate to vote for in the foreseeable future. Not because of party, though.
The crux of the problem is the divide between the two parties and their “vision for the rest of us” (as articulated by them) is so wide that there is no real intersection between the sides — aside from the shared corruption of an (exponentially growing) influx of big money into the political system. We are now faced with choosing between sides that are separated by a vast gulf filled with the politics of personal destruction and irrational fear-mongering.
To me, it is very clear whose interests are served by the two alternatives; it’s clear from the words and deeds of the two parties. Since we’re forced to choose, I have to choose the side that cares most about what I care about. I regret deeply that no political middle exists anymore. Bring back the middle that existed before the political parties declared war on our form of government and perhaps I can once again find an “R” to support.
Broad-based opinion polling indicates that the people are not as divided as the political discourse makes it appear. I conclude from that that the system has turned upside down. We the people are being driven to serve the interests of the political power holders, when in fact they are supposed to be serving ours.
As a citizen, make opportunities to reach across the divide.
Challenge your own perceptions and what you’re being told that you think. To save ourselves, we must break the mob mentality perpetuated by extreme media and demagogues and make a thoughtful examination of our own (and broader society’s) real interest.
This “Great Divide of the 21st Century” serves well the interests of the powerful, at a tragically high cost to the rest.
Alan K. Menius lives in Salisbury.
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