"Seriously; the rest of us don't know what to do with the rest of them."
My friend, Christy, is a centrist Republican. She was referring to the far right political fringe element, which she openly and unapologetically calls "tea-baggers".
Christy believes the free market will generally take care of most of our economic issues; she believes there is nothing wrong with prayer in schools; she believes that abortion should be safe and legal but not necessarily free and easy. She also believes the social safety net is not a bad thing, so long as it doesn't become a crutch, but that much of the work of that safety net can be accomplished by strong communities that take care of their own, not by the Federal Government with lots of intermediaries. She thinks unions have their place in protecting the rights and wages of those who would otherwise be unfairly treated by their employers, but believes that there is a lot of corruption and waste at the highest levels of some of them.
In short, she thinks like about 70-80% of everyone in this country.
So why is it that the 20-30% minority of this nation, who represent the far right and far left fringes of our social and political beliefs, seem to be setting the agenda for the rest of us?
A friend of mine, who makes his living promoting a lot of capitalist ideals, cautioned me to back-pedal the other day when I called him out for being a "lefty". "I'm a closet lefty. Closet. Christ, you keep talking like that and they'll think I'm a goddamn bleeding heart like you."
"Yeah, C; the clue bus? Leaving the station. Dude, you have four advanced degrees, you serve on a board that takes care of under-privileged kids, and your mom is a lesbian. Ain't no 'closet' about it."
Despite the fact that we were on a private phone call, he shushed me. "How do I maintain my credibility with my co-workers if they know my politics?"
So what gives here? We have Republicans who clearly feel a lack of comfort with the direction of their party. We have fiscal conservatives who are afraid to reveal they are social liberals, because a small and extremely vocal minority tell them they must be "in for a penny, in for a pound."
What he heck ever happened to rationality? Why is it sinful to be in the middle, to accept some of the wisdom of both sides and to reflect the needs, wants and aspirations of the vast majority among us?
Have we lost our minds?