What do our politics look like today? We see and hear extreme views from the far right and the far left. These factions are very well organized and very vocal. They are good at getting publicity. However, neither of these factions comes close to being a majority of their party, let alone the totality of voters. More moderate factions, the so called center right and center left are in fact majorities of their respective parties. Sadly they are less organized and less vocal – ‘the silent majority’?
Extreme positions seldom, if ever, prevail in the political process. Today, however, these extreme factions are the cause of deep divisions in both political parties. They may even be a cause for, in the not to distant future, a schism in the parties. These are the players in our political combat – ‘win at all cost’. It also makes for an endangered democracy. At its core, democracy ‘of, for and by the people’ means discussion, debate and compromise. This not what we have today.
Extreme positions, while not politically viable today, are good in that they expand the conversation and may indeed become viable in the future. Those who promote such positions should continue to push for their objectives but with a democratic spirit and not mortal political combat.
It is difficult to see how we work our way our of this situation. If, we could find a national leader with charisma and good communication skills with a platform that appeals to the vast middle ground held by the majority (independent of party) then we might make a good first step. The big question – Who?