20 January, 2022

The Humanitarian Collective

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OPINION: Why America Needs To Embrace Centrism Like Never Before

The case for a more moderate America.

As the United States faces a seemingly endless realm of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic to an economy in ruin, we are more divided than virtually anytime in our history. This bitter divide along party lines has been fueled by a poisonous uprise in partisanship nationwide, especially within our government. Politicians on both sides are to blame for this lack of open-mindedness and for divisive proposals on campaign trails, in the White House, and in the halls of Congress. Thus, it is an utter necessity that centrism and common sense take the driver’s seat during these troubling times. Moderate politicians must step up and call out the shameful partisanship that has rapidly increased recently in both major political parties. 

Partisan politicians attract a cult-like following because their hyper-conservative or hyper-liberal ideas rile up supporters and contribute to the almost universal promise to “shake things up in Washington.” For instance, President Donald Trump amassed an immensely enthusiastic group of supporters who clung to his promise to “drain the swamp” and his far-right positions on a number of issues. Trump proposed radical solutions to our problems such as banning Muslims from entering the United States in an attempt to combat global terrorism. Denying the existence of climate change and cutting back significantly on regulations put in place to curb greenhouse gas emissions was yet another radical tactic employed, in the name of advancing business. On the left, self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialists such as Bernie Sanders are becoming more and more mainstream by the day, and are garnering passionate supporters who gladly embrace their messages of mass student loan debt bailouts, enacting the Green New Deal, and strongly reforming America’s capitalist system. These strongly conservative and liberal ideas come alongside big egos and personalities that attract large crowds and further contribute to the stark divide in America. Unfortunately, politicians with a more mild take on the issues seem to have less notable personas and thus are perceived by many as boring or not passionate enough to hold office. However, this proposition could not be further from the truth. Throughout history candidates that adopt concepts from both parties and take a centrist view on the issues have held the highest offices in the land and have been known for their personas. Take President John F. Kennedy for example, who was known for his willingness to collaborate with Republicans and always respected the opinions of others. He is one of America’s most adored presidents and was noted for having a terrific wit and dominating personality. Nowadays, while they may lack the ego to lash out at anybody who disagrees with them, moderates are generally more focused on getting things done for the people than they are on Twitter followers or selling political merchandise to further advance themselves as icons of modern-day progressives or nationalist right-wingers. Centrism isn’t all about personality and flashy proposals, but rather data-driven solutions that aren’t unique to the general views of one political party. The solutions that moderates pursue are realistic and don’t cost an obscene amount of money. They take into account our nations concerning $28 trillion debt and generally are not overly controversial, and therefore are inherently less divisive.

 As America’s challenges stack up at the start of 2021 we are witnessing firsthand the brutal effects of a hyper-partisan political climate. Recently, a group of overly passionate Trump supporters, inspired by his angry words and top enablers who called upon them to “fight like hell” and pursue a “trial by combat” stormed the Capitol building and committed atrocious acts of violence, looting, and domestic terror, in the name of false claims of voter fraud by former President Trump. Trump’s ultra partisan views allowed for a personality cult to be developed by supporters of his and eventually after four years led to actual violence and a disgraceful act of sedition. Only a couple of weeks before the violent mob raided the Capitol, politicians failed for far too long to come up with a much-needed economic stimulus for the American workers who have kept our country moving during this pandemic. Blinded by their desire to add more to the bill than just the money itself it took weeks for them to finally agree on $600 stimulus checks. This clearly delayed the transfer of the money to deserving Americans who simply want to stay afloat during the economic turmoil America is currently experiencing. A third recent example of this is the obvious politicization of the Coronavirus by both parties. Due to the current polarization of American politics both the liberals and conservatives are using this heinous virus for political games. The right wing faction of the GOP uses masks as a sign of weakness and claims that any sort of restriction is an infringement on the rights of all Americans, and voting Republican is the only way to ensure that life will quickly return to normal. The left wing faction of the Democratic party dangerously paints business owners who express outrage at closures even with proper PPE installed as unpatriotic public health risks. They run on the idea that all Republicans are reckless when it comes to Covid and that the only path to safety is voting blue. Meanwhile, moderate politicians in both parties work tirelessly on behalf of the American people. Elected officials such as Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have done tremendous work in regards to getting covid relief to the people and defeating the virus in the United States. They understand that this virus doesn’t just affect Republicans or Democrats, but rather everyone who is trying to live their life. Therefore, instead of using it as an opportunity to get votes and attack the other side, they go to work and make sure that both sides are having an intelligent dialogue and collaborating to help the people they were elected to represent. 

It is shameful that partisanship has had such a profound effect on life in the United States recently. However, there is hope. Very recently Joe Biden was sworn in at a toned down ceremony to be the next President of the United States. He has been known throughout his career as someone who is willing to cross the aisle and collaborate with everyone willing to work together. In addition, he takes a somewhat moderate stance on several issues and refrains from proposing radical ideas. Currently, there are many pragmatic centrists who are Governors across America, as well as a number of Congress members who are “in the middle”. I am certain that centrism and pragmatic solutions are the way to solve the many problems that plague our country today, and I am hopeful that moderates who hold office will continue to fight for the American people through collaboration and willingness to work with the other side. 

The above is an editorial piece that does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Humanitarian Collective, its Editorial Board, opinion editors, constituents, or sponsors.

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Hello! I am 15 years old and live in Pelham NY. I like to play basketball and have a general interest in sports. I also participate in student government and have a deep interest in politics. I like to spend time outdoors with my friends and family as well.