Why I Am An Extreme Political Moderate

September 12, 2012

On Monday, Matthew Paul Turner (you may know him from Jesus Needs New PR) made a political confession:proud-to-be-moderate-at-what-other-political-rally-would-you-ever-see-this

He hates Christian moderates.

He thinks they’re wishy-washy and they don’t know what they believe.  Or they just want people to know what they don’t believe.  Or they are just hanging out in moderate land before returning to familiar ground on the election.  They parrot talking points without having an original thought.

I have to agree.  That kind of “moderate” would make me want to judo chop him right in his moderate bone (the ossicle).

But I’d like to give a playful, but serious response, because I consider myself a moderate…

…a very extreme moderate.  I’m the most closed minded moderate I know, in fact.  I hope you’re ready because I’m about to open a whole can of moderation on your sorry faces.

I Don’t Ride Fences…I Plow Into Them

That’s right, when it comes to moderation, I am the most extreme moderate I know of.  When it comes to riding a fence, I blast through the fence with a bulldozer.

Because to me, being a milquetoast moderate is completely missing the point.

Being “undecided” in my mind means not knowing whether you’d rather have me punch you in the stomach or the kidneys.

Not having an opinion means you just don’t have the mental capacity for logical thought processes.  I’d rather you be dead wrong than undecided.  At least I can have a debate with someone who’s wrong.

Okay, I’m kind of kidding about all this.  But really, being a moderate in no way means that I don’t have an opinion.

When A and B Both Miss the Point

To me, moderation is not about riding fences or being “in the middle.”  It’s not about bringing both sides together for hand holding and compromise.  It’s not about being “purple” in the fight between red and blue.

To me, being a moderate is an entirely third party.  What’s a color that hasn’t been ruined yet?  Orange?  Is orange being used by a fringe party?  I don’t know, but if it’s not, get ready for a blast of righteous orange indignation to your eyeballs.

Being a moderate is not finding the “middle” between A and B.  It’s about saying that A and B both miss the point in so

me way.  When A is band and B is worse, a compromise between the two is not anything better.  So a moderate, at least a real one, isn’t going to compromise.  He’s going to get some backbone and say to A and B “you’re both wrong!”

You Can’t Fit Moderation Into a Soundbite

Moderates don’t deal in extremism.  But when it comes to the media, extremism is probably the only thing that fits into a soundbite.  Extremism is all the media usually deals in.  There is no such thing as a moderate war cry.  War cries are short, loud and extreme.  Extremism rallies people, but rarely fits into real life because it is not realistic.  It is a fantasy.  It doesn’t solve real problems.  It only stirs people up into a frenzy and wins elections.

Traditional politics are about digging in your heels, towing the party line, and proclaiming the end of the world when you lose.  It’s about getting people to agree with your side (which almost never happens) and forcing compliance when they do not (which is almost always.)

Being a moderate is about showing everyone that there is a better way than what is being offered.  Not a compromise.  Not a wishy washy, spineless, no nothing way.  A better way.  A more logical way.  A more practical way.  A more realistic way.

What do you think?  Do you consider yourself a moderate, or would it be better if I just picked a side?

33 responses to Why I Am An Extreme Political Moderate

  1. I do consider myself moderate because I really listen to what both sides are saying their plans are. I don’t listen to commercials or even debates because I don’t want their opinion on the other guy. I want their ideas and plans. Maybe that doesn’t make me moderate, but it also doesn’t make me Republican or Democrat. I just want to hear all the ideas because normally both sides have some good ideas and some bad ones.

  2. I honestly have never seen comments like the ones MPT described, maybe because I don’t know many moderates. My FB page gets hijacked by the extreme right and left. They both have something to say underneath the all caps and name-calling, but they always toe the party line completely. I’m more conservative leaning, so if I wasn’t moderate I’d be forced to back up anti-woman policies and fewer basic rights for individuals based on sexual orientation. All because,ironically enough, I support smaller government. I guess original thought means we need to choose one side to completely agree with. Because saying there has to be a third way isn’t original.

  3. Amen! I read an article the other day that ended with the question, “If you vote for the lesser of 2 evils, what do you have?”
    So what do we do? I’d love to say “none of the above” and write in a name, but does that accomplish anything? i cannot vote for A or B, so what do I do?

    • Thinking there were a good number of moderates out there, I posed the same question on FB a week or so back. The only answers I got were from the far Right or Left. They basically said, “Suck it up and vote for Romney or Obama.” Either way, all agreed a write-in would be as pointless as not voting at all. I still feel like not voting could somehow be a statement that we don’t have a choice, but I don’t know how. I live in a swing state, too, which makes it worse. But if my voice will only be heard if I’m voting for one of two choices I don’t want to begin with, am I truly having a say in the election? As is, I just pay my taxes and pretend I’m living under a benevolent dictatorship. It makes me feel better.

      • I think what it says is that the power is really in the primaries, not the general election. I think we should change the primary system so that it all happens on a single day. That way, by the time the vote “gets” to my state, I still have all the choices the first people had. No handful of states should have the power over the process like they do in the current system.

    • I may be a moderate, but that doesn’t mean I throw my vote away. It means I vote for the “lesser” of the evils, and preach moderation to people I have contact with. And sometimes, I’m actually happy with my vote :) I think there are some genuinely good people in government, and some genuinely bad people.

      • You bring up a good point, because I feel voting for Obama or Romney is throwing my vote away, since neither seem interested in even entertaining a moderate view. I feel like calling it “the lesser of two evils” or “The better choice” still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have much of a choice. Or are my standards too high? I have been told that once already.

        • Could be either one. Maybe we’ve lost the fine art of real compromise. From what I understand, just getting the Comstitutional convention to compromise so they could produce a document was a hellish task – lots of very principled people.

  4. Hahahaha! Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ll be linking to this on my blog!

  5. Yes! This sums up my feelings towards politics perfectly. I am tired of people religiously clinging to one candidate/party or the other, and constantly spouting off these hyperbolic statements about what happens if the other side wins.

    Thanks for writing this–I’m going to bookmark it so that I can post it on a friend’s wall when they start asking me about my political beliefs.

  6. Maybe you’re not a moderate but a pragmatist.

  7. Team orange!

    Couldn’t have said it any better, that is exactly why I am a moderate. Thank you for clarifying that being a moderate is not about trying to appease both sides with a “happy medium.” My position is more of one where I believe both sides, Dems & Repubs, have gone batshit insane trying to undermine the other side, making all situations an “us vs. them,” until nobody even knows what’s going on anymore. It’s just everyone pointing fingers and refusing to see things from more than one point of view. IMO Moderates take a step back, realize strengths and weaknesses on both sides and bring a completely different viewpoint to the table.

  8. My Father will choose our next President based on His will for us.

    Simple.

    My “politics” is to be found in the theocracy that is The Kingdom of God, which is His form of government. But I do so enjoy watching the political machinations of others while eating popcorn and drinking Pepsi. Quite enjoyable, indeed!

    Moderates, extremists, party-liners, etc. Go with what you know, baby.

  9. In college, a group of us who liked some of the stuff in the Republican side and some of the stuff in the Democratic side. We came up with the name “Flaming Moderates.”

    Being moderate isn’t the same as being undecided.

  10. I read that thing on JNNPR and thought it was a little odd–I don’t know that I’ve ever come across any of the moderates that he describes, and besides, if being a moderate isn’t a good thing, what’s the alternative? It’s a heckuva lot better than being an extremist, I think.

    The thing is, there used to be a whole spectrum of Republicans and Democrats, moderate to way-out-there, and it seems like the ones in the middle don’t even exist anymore.

    • So have the parties really been hijacked by extremists, or has everyone become so extreme that extreme is the new normal?

      • Personally, I think that extremism just may be the new normal. I think that it’s probably because our politicians are answering to influences that AREN’T the people who actually elected them.

        I blame the 24-hour-echo-chamber that the press has become (ideologues get a lot more attention on Fox News/MSNBC/etc. than moderates) and the economics behind campaigning (RINOs and DINOs run a bigger risk of losing money from the big donors than candidates that are more ideologically “pure”.)

  11. I try, quite imperfectly, to live life as a citizen of the kingdom of God. To me that means that I have to look at political, economic issues from a point of view that sometimes may agree with one party or another, sometimes may see good and bad in both views, and many times leads me to a third way that is contrary to either party. I guess that could make me an extreme moderate?

  12. I consider myself a moderate, and I agree!! I’m not wishy-washy. I have my opinions. Sometimes both sides are wrong, and sometimes I take one issue from one side, and one from the other. Also, being a moderate doesn’t mean you are in-between D and R either… we might take bits from other parties as well, like the Green party, or whatever. For example: I’m really green and care about the environment. I like small government and tight budgets. I don’t like universal healthcare, but I do like the extra rules they added, like letting young adults stay on their parent’s plans until 26. It just depends on the issue at hand.

    But most people don’t vote on the issues. Because we’re lazy. And voting on the issues actually takes work to find out what that candidate’s stances are.

  13. Love this. Thank you for being a voice of common sense in the midst of all the shouting. I’ve never labeled myself a moderate, but I agree with you 100% about A and B. To believe that American politics are desperately messed up is not to be a fence sitter or to lack informed opinions.

    I do pray for God’s mercy on our nation, beginning with repentance and revival in the church — that we Christians would do what we’re supposed to do, no matter what the government is or isn’t doing. I believe God is sovereign — setting up and tearing down governments according to His will — and that He is working out plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness. If the Bible is our only authoritative source of truth (and I believe it is), then these things must be true. There are plenty of examples in scripture of God purposefully raising up evil leaders to drive people to Himself (which is ultimately a kindness on His part, because He is our only good and only hope of salvation). I have no trouble accepting the possibility He might discipline our nation in the same fashion. We’re certainly in need of some tough love on multiple fronts.

    I don’t write about politics or comment on politically charged blogs. In fact, I don’t read politically charged blogs. Didn’t read MPT’s post and have no desire to. But all that said, I do vote. Yes, it is a “lesser of two evils” sort of thing. But as screwed up as our system is, I still think democracy is the best form of government, and the right to vote is one that should be practiced. My ultimate comfort lies not in who wins, but in knowing that God is in control.

    • Hi Jeanne,
      You said, “My ultimate comfort lies not in who wins, but in knowing that God is in control.” That is my ultimate comfort also.
      Liz

  14. I just want to be left alone (by the government) as much as possible. I want to live my life in relative freedom without people taking half of the fruits of my labor. Without being told what to wear or what to eat, and when.

    People are inveterate busy-bodies and do-gooders and will never quit trying to tell you how to live your life.

    That is why the Founders of this country advocated smaller government. They knew full well human nature.

    If this makes me immoderate, then so be it.

  15. Extremists hate moderates because they don’t blindly line up with either fringe. That way they can’t tell them how great they are or how horrific they are and bad for the country. So they demonize those who don’t line up as somehow inferior.

    You hit it on the head about moderates. We know both of the extreme sides are full of crap in their blind zeal that honestly doesn’t line up with God in total and offends me a bit that they claim to be the choice for a “true” Christian. (And it’s both sides despite what the “socially aware” Christian left wants you to believe.)

    A moderate is anything but “wishy-washy”. A moderate is an intelligent person who refuses to put on the partisan blinders so many people shove at them.

  16. I am a moderate or maybe I am apathetic… I just don’t see why this should play a part in my daily walk. I have been called to further the Kingdom of Christ… Not vote someone into office… I know, I know… As an American it is my duty to try and make sure the right person is in office, but as a Christian should I vote for a Mormon or the man that goes against a lot of my beliefs?
    On a side note… I think Ray Boltz Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb video was prophesy…. America is going to start killing us… (this is me trying to be funny).