“Voices” Piece Submission: Harley Neiditz

Harley Neiditz, Guest Writer

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Harley Neiditz

Voices Period 2

Declaration of Beliefs: My Place in the Center

What do I believe? Jack Kennedy called it “idealism without illusions”, Bill Clinton called it the “Third Way”, I call it centrism. My philosophy falls between the left and right but lives on a three dimensional plane like an imaginary number. I believe in common sense and responsibility for the economy, environment, and public safety.

Sometimes I feel like a ghost or a spectator watching bloodsport, to my left and right. I experience politics in a way different from many people, almost like I transcend the left, right, and their fighting. That’s why I subscribe to “politics a-la-carte.” Instead of adhering to a single party platform, I’d rather choose the most rational elements from both groups and be my own person. Why would I want who I am to be defined by my political affiliation?

Granted, it often seems that I am waiting for the right party to appear. But there is no party that occupies the “sensible middle” of the political spectrum: socially liberal, fiscally responsible, and compromise for the sake of compromise.

That’s why, aside from his flaws, I am enthralled by Bill Clinton’s political philosophy and rhetoric. Even if some of his policies have not aged well, his ideology was one that synthesized ideas from the left and the right to gain the best of both worlds.

Clinton worked across the aisle to pass legislation that created hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. And when his party lost control of Congress, he worked with the opposition to find common ground.

The GOP once had a large centrist faction. In fact, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was a liberal Republican. As Governor of New York from the 60s to early 70s, he supported environmentalism, expanded health care coverage, but was also moderate on economic issues.

Some equate centrism with being moderate. In many ways I do prefer measured change as opposed to rapid transformations. However I also believe that gun violence, one of the defining issues of our generation, necessitates action.

Instead of trying to force the far left and far right to compromise, a solution stands on common ground amongst those in the “sensible center” of the political spectrum. There is actually a consensus for common sense gun reform between many Democrats and Republicans.

Although neither side would be completely satisfied, the most sustainable policies are the ones that both parties find mutually acceptable. Anything too partisan would likely repealed by the opposition in a few years time.

In terms of the economy, much of my views have been influenced by what I have learned in AP Economics: raise taxes when times are good, and lower them when times are bad. Economics is just like my view of politics; balance is the key to success. If we move too hard in one direction, we will eventually be pulled in the other. Call it “political whiplash.”

So although I am a centrist, it does not mean I am a “flip-flopper” or indecisive. I am willing to compromise on policies, but not on my values. This makes it especially frustrating when I hear people refer to centrism like it’s a dirty word.

I don’t owe my vote to anyone. Just because I’m not the standard-bearer for liberals or conservatives, it doesn’t mean that my views don’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s people like me who get bills passed. It’s people like me that you so desperately need to win an election. So instead of pandering to us when the polls show you are slipping, embrace us.

It’s your choice; take me or leave me. Because if one party doesn’t, I’d have no problem leaving. In fact, I’d consider joining another. And would you really want me to do that? Like I said, it’s your choice.

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