Thursday, March 03, 2005

You Don't Need to Move Towards the Center, You Are the Center

Most of America does not exist in a blue or red, metro or retro, liberal or conservative certainty. For a nation that was founded on individualism and freedom, we are much too complex to be defined that cleanly. Each voter, rather, is a quilt of different political experiences and inclinations that lead him or her to certain voting patterns. But we are not, by any means, a nation divided.

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Blogger ProBluefish said...

Many people in the political world will have you believe that our voting habits resemble something of an "M" on the graph, where Dems ar on the left, GOP on the right. There's peaks on each end, and a dip in the middle, where we find the somewhat elusive, vanishing swing voter.

In reality, I contend it's more of a bell curve, with a significant swell in the middle and tapering minorities in each partisan extreme. You find, however, that those minorities get the spotlight and the attention, for it is the Newt Gingrich's and the Howard Dean's that devote their careers to fighting for the party, and for cutting down the other side, no matter the issue.

Well I'm one of those partisans too, I believe that while I don't agree with every issue accross the Dem agenda, more good will get done with any Democrat in power than any Republican (which is why I take issue with the bloggers who would rather be right and noble with a Repug Pres, than compromised with a decent Dem)

Yet while some will have you believe that we'll win by running to extremes and offering knee-jerk angst against any conservative proposal, I strongly and firmly believe we win by appealing to the silent majority and branding ourselves as the American national majority party.

Now I'm not talking about "being moderate," "being more centrist." I think any of that talk is foolish, because to me, our values are the center of American consciousness and do represent the center of American values.

Democrats believe in community, in loving thy neighbor and caring for those who need caring. We believe in upholding a long-term plan for collective progress. That's responsibility. We believe that any American can raise himself and realize the American dream. That's opportunity. We believe no one should fall into poverty, or be strangled by health care costs or should have to live their life in fear. That's security. Responsibility, Opportunity, Security. American values.

We need to cast our values as those that represent the majority, because after all, that is what they are? Right? We need to "brand", ourselves, if you will, to appeal to that silent majority that is repelled by the rhetorical extremes.

Now, I'm all about party activism and am a dedicated Yellow Dog. But I've got friends across the political spectrum, because I share things in common with these people even if they don't share all of my political views. But in order to have these people vote for you come November, you first need have a Democratic Party that is ingrained into the fabric of the American community.

There's ways to both fight for something and to be tolerant and inclusive. This was the spirit of Martin Luther King. Bill Clinton had this spirit, and more recently, John Edwards and Wes Clark have had a similar touch.

At the end of the day, we're not in this to make the Democratic Party better, but America better. As Barack Obama said, "this isn't red America, this isn't blue America, this is the United States of America."

1:17 PM  

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