Sunday, November 12, 2006

Just what is "the center."

There's a lot of talk, in light of the slim Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, about "centrism." But I don't see a lot of definitions of the term. I am, quite proudly, not a centrist. I have strong points of view and some are considered far left and others are considered far right. I don't have any allegiance to the middle ground, though.

I don't think that most people do, either. What would the "center" even mean in terms of the major issues of the day? There's no half-way on Iraq. We either start getting out or we don't. There's no middle ground on gay marriage. You can't support "kind of" gay marriage. They can either marry each other or they can't. You're either pro-choice or not, pro stem cell research or not, for school prayer or not, for making flag burning a crime or not... it goes on and on... there are a lot of issues, I think that just demand that people take a stand, on either side.

I know we've all been taught that compromise is a good thing. In a lot of ways, it is. Both sides give a little and get a little. Compromise is certainly vital in interpersonal relationships.

But, the compromise solution isn't always the best one. The middle ground between two extremes can actually be a lot worse, and make a lot less sense, than either extreme. Democrats are suddenly being encouraged to be non-partisan and to compromise with the other side. But I don't see that they should. Work with the other side, sure. Try to convince the other side, of course. But there's no justification for giving in on their best ideas just to seem accomodating and friendly. At some points, folks will need to take some stands. Democrats should think more about what they believe and what policies they want to enact than about being bipartisan or centrist.


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