Political Moderation is a Lie

“Moderate Democrat” is a lie — they need to be called what they are: Republicans.

Political Moderation is a Lie
A typical Moderate Democrat.

The New York Times recently asked if Americans will even notice if the 3.5 trillion dollar budget gets cleared. Their article also brought up some reasons why it might not pass, at least not unless it is further gutted. But the introspection didn’t go much further, and that’s the problem: introspection rarely does.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

But moderate Democrats favor a smaller package, with less government spending … Some Democrats are also uncomfortable with either raising the money needed to pay for the bill (through tax increases on the rich and corporations)

The 3.5 trillion dollar package was already lower than our country needs for basic improvements and stabilization. A stop-gap to our own self-destruction, not a real cure for what ails our society. Which is annoying, because, while police states like China are banding together through shared myth and top-down legislation, the US can’t even build new railways.

And forget about the idea of paying for universal healthcare, or cancelling student debt (which is holding whole generations back from success and development). This leaves the US in a farcical position of extreme wealth inequality and increasing fracturing on ideological lines.

But many of those ideological lines aren’t even mildly reasonable, despite somehow being treated as such! “Moderate Democrats” are responsible for some of the worst damages to climate legislation and welfare legislation, but rarely get the blame they deserve.

Meanwhile, those farther “left”, those who stand up for social benefits and ecological support, are consistently lampooned as unrealistic or as being viciously divisive. Political losses to farther-right policies are unjustly heaped upon left-wing leaders, despite that those losses are more frequently incurred by stalling and aggravation from so-called Moderate Democrats. These Moderate Democrats are ultimately encased in a neoliberal fiscal and moral dogma that is classically Republican, but they’ve been camouflaged by the far-right trend.

And have people noticed this? Well, some have, but the Republican Party has been pushed so far into insanity that they make the policies of Moderate Dems seem totally reasonable by comparison. Instead of being merely a party of fiscal caution, they’re a party of outright religious extremism, corpo-monopolism, and twisted meritocracy.

Because of this divergence, this pull to the far right, the “middle” becomes increasingly skewed away from far-left policies of… trying to feed people. And, less glibly, the so-called “middle” becomes increasingly antagonistic to necessary social support systems. Systems like anti-corruption legislation that fights monopolies, social programs for education (which empowers the entire society), and programs for health and financial support. Worse, it stalls action on climate change, which requires emergency cancellation of all harmful environmental practices and massive retraining for workers lest we face a tribunal of Nature’s wroth the likes of which we’ve never seen.

Now, with climate crisis, plague, and political upheaval barreling toward us, things are looking dark. And, while the infrastructure bill contains a lot that’s positive, at a meager 3.5 trillion it barely turns on the porch light against that darkness.

Yet already, supposed “moderates” like Joe Manchin are actively fighting even that much, relying on tried and true Republican speaking points to argue against it. Meanwhile, people starve, the world burns (and floods), and the United States falls further into collapse.

Make no mistake, the reality of what comes next will be a mix/match of people’s worst fears and middle-of-the-road expectations: millions will be displaced by climate change and will have no social support to catch them. No matter what we do, now, hardship lies ahead (because conservatives and “moderates” have repeatedly stalled the efforts needed to change things for the better). That said, the US won’t spontaneously become The Purge or some stupid survivalist fantasy. But, it will slide into an increasingly miserable state. Meanwhile, other countries that can enact national mythologies of community, alongside political policies of mutual support and infrastructure, will thrive.

Can we forestall all the darkness ahead? Nah. But that darkness can be mitigated if we stop following failed economic policies as our Holy Word, and recognize the need for a kinder, greener, more unified approach. But, first, we have to recognize who’s holding us back — and stop them. We have to recognize that the naturally good instinct of seeking the “Middle Way” is ruinous if the entire scale has been tipped towards a new, more dangerous middle.

Luckily, we live in an electoral democracy, and we have a chance to be the change. We need to defeat not just those obvious dangers like the neo-Nazis and the outright corporate stooges on display, but also the snakes in the grass who preach caution at the expense of vital action. If we can clear the field, vote, and run for office ourselves — if we can pull our skewed political landscape back toward the left where it belongs, then we might finally be able to have “Moderates” who aren’t certifiably insane.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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