Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Sensible Party

James pointed out in the comments section of my last post that moderation is not a stance per se. The party does need to stand for something. And I think if I were looking for a way to describe my vision, I'd start with equality and equitability...

By that, I mean that we should focus on protecting the rights of all people, rich and poor. The extreme left sometimes takes the position that the solution to poverty is to take from the rich. The extreme right feels that the solution to poverty is to take away 'handouts' and make the poor develop 'good work ethics'. In my moderate philosophy, both of those arguments are flawed because each seeks a simple solution that primarily involves sacrifices from people outside their group in the name of 'the greater good'.

The Sensible party would try to look at the root causes and create a solution that demands equal sacrifice from all sides under the premise that, since ultimately, everyone will benefit, everyone should contribute.

Don't confuse this with Communism or Socialism. This is not the same as the from each tenet. But the wealthy need to understand that they are wealthy because of the system and need to pay back into it to perpetuate it. The poor need to understand that we want to put them in a position to succeed, but that success will ultimately be up to them.

That's just an example on the economic side. On the social side, we could talk about religion. The whole country needs to come to terms with a couple of things. First, we are not a Christian nation. We are a nation predominantly filled with Christians, but we are not a Christian nation. Similarly, we are not an agnostic or atheistic nation. One need only look at some of our intrinsic and government designated symbology to see that. People are sworn into office on a Bible. Our money says "In G-d We Trust". The Pledge of Allegiance calls us "One nation under G-d." Freedom OF religion does not equal freedom FROM religion. We need to differentiate between a government sponsored religion and people being allowed to practice their beliefs. It's always been a tricky gray area, but people tend to fall out on the far ends of the spectrum. On the one end we have people who want creationism taught in the schools. On the other, we have people who get angry when someone says Merry Christmas to a mixed group of people in a corporate setting.

We could also try to hit one of Steve's hot buttons, abortion. Well, that and family planning in general. Again, we have two prevailing extremes in this country. The far right refuses to allow any abortion under any circumstance or any acknowledgement of birth control. The far left want women to be proud of exercising this right, going so far as to create an "I had an abortion" t-shirt. This is an even trickier issue than religion. The Sensible party would stand up for a woman's right to safe, legal abortions. However, this would not be in a vacuum, and abortion would only be one tool in the family planning toolbelt. Some unbiased analysis would be done to determine how far along in a pregnancy abortions are done and for what reason. Strategies would be put in place to try to reduce the number of abortions. Abstinence education would be the first line of defense in preventing pregnancy and STDs. Abstinence would be emphasized. But people would be educated of their other options if they did not choose to practice abstinence.

I hope that gives a clearer picture of what I'd like to see moderates in this country stand for and stand up for. Let the left and the right be the left and the right. But let's also carve out a space for people who are willing to try to see the truths at the heart of both sides positions. The extremes are often just decent ideas taken to absolutes.