We live in uncertain times. We have radical elements of both parties attacking the other with real or imagined issues. Sadly, we also have elements within parties that threaten to destroy party unity. Being a centrist, I have been attacked from both sides.
I identify as a Liberal, with a capital “L”, but also see myself as one open to new ideas. When I express my thoughts to the right, particularly the radical right, I am assailed with labels like “uninformed”, “ignorant “, unpatriotic”, “unAmerican” and several other labels that are unsuitable for publication.
I accept these labels, and indeed wear them as a badge of honor when I consider the sources. The slings and arrows they throw my way only furthers my stance on their multiple hypocrisies. They are pro-life, but cling to their guns, are anti-public education, anti-public assistance and pretty much against anything that would help a child beyond birth. They wrap themselves around the Bible, but are religious, racial and cultural bigots. Their acceptance extends only to those who believe the way they do.
In essence, the right is VERY wrong.
Now the Left
When it comes to elements within that which I identify as my own party, I am similarly vilified by radical elements of the far left. There are the tree- huggers, the animal lovers, the vegans and the idealists, each of whom has attacked me for my centrist stance. I’ve been called ugly things by those within my party that make me question my affiliation.
In my younger, less informed days, I was an Independent. I did not want to be beholden to either party or forced to accept a strict ideology. I voted for John Anderson in my first Presidential election.
Living through the Nixon era, and experiencing the Reagan presidency, my views began to lean more to the left. I benefitted from programs to pay for my college education. I supported a woman’s right to choose. I supported equal rights for all. I opposed the NRA, segregation and a government that served big businesses over individuals. All of these were part of the Democratic platform, so I became a Democrat.
I supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. When she was defeated in the primary, I supported Obama. After seeing his successes with the economy, I wholeheartedly supported his re-election.
It was then that the assaults began. I was urged to support anti-deforestation. Okay, I understand how valuable trees are to the environment, so when large shopping centers were proposed in previous wetlands, I did my research. I looked at the environmental impacts and weighed them against the economic benefits. Based upon my research, I saw that jobs and the influx of money into the local economy outweighed the environmental damage.
Then those I call “the tree-huggers” attacked. My in-box was flooded with negative comments. This was before Facebook or Twitter, or I’m sure I would have been inundated on social media, as well. Because I lived in a neighborhood of those who supported the radical left, I saw myself being shunned. They questioned why I wouldn’t support their fringe candidates, such as Dennis Kucinich, and why I gravitated to the mainstream candidates like Clinton and Obama. They saw his views on the environment as more in line with theirs. While I saw their point, I also viewed their solution as unworkable, so I remained steady in my centrist views.
Most recently, I’ve been attacked by vegans. At first, they were light-hearted in their comments, using the same approach my mother once used, “How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?”
I laughed off the comments, but my simple “No” to a comment about vegans became a rallying cry for the ultra-Liberals. They stepped up their attacks, citing the chemical harm to be had from being a meat-eater. When that failed, they stepped up their assault further, calling me someone who supports the wholesale slaughter of animals.
First and foremost, I do not support hunting. I think the practice is barbaric and should be outlawed. It also encourages the proliferation of firearms. Besides, there are markets that provide all the meat you could want. If you can afford firearms and ammunition, you can afford to go shopping for food.
At this point, I’m considering returning to my Independent roots. The far left, with their insistence in embracing non-Democrats like Bernie Sanders, has me questioning my own party’s motives. If they refuse to support any candidate that isn’t Bernie, they can accept the responsibility of four more years of this disaster. I doubt they will, since they refused to do so in 2016.
Meanwhile, I will continue to support the things that are important to me. Let’s Go Mets!