Opinion: Moderation caught in the middle of extremist crossfire

Dear Editor,

If you go out and ask the modern American what this nation is missing today, many might say that it’s common sense, and others might say that it’s an appreciation for our country. Still others might say that we never had the things we are missing, such as freedom, equality and justice. I would like to suggest that what our country is missing, and is in dire need of, is an agreeable amount of moderation.

This can be interpreted in a few of ways, of course. When some think of moderation, they think of disciplined restriction, or of willingness to compromise. It truly is both of those things and more. Moderation includes the knowledge and critical thinking necessary to avoid the fringes of extreme ideology. Extremism, on both sides, paints a picture of a holy land, but all that can be found there are futile promises and the ultimate motivation for any polarizing force: power.

The point I am making is that the true American, who holds the values and traditions that our country represents close to our collective soul, rejects any sort of extremism, and would prefer a more comfortable, and honestly a more productive, form of moderation. 

Americans like agreement, action, and results, which are more likely to occur when two sides who are both moderate are willing to talk and compromise. Extremes never compromise, remember that.

I encourage my friends, neighbors and life-long thinkers to dwell on this: the next time someone you know or a reliable source tells you to accept a far-right or far-left proposal, please think critically and independently. Think about the impact on the person and the country, on the elderly and the young, on men and women and families. If enough people accept extreme opinions, nothing gets done, and we all feel the impact. But if we are willing to see both sides and find a middle ground, there may be room at the table for everyone.

Right now, moderation is caught in the middle of extremist crossfire. We can contribute to the chaos by joining a side, and we can just stay silently in the middle to face certain annihilation. Or, and I hope we can return to this one day, we can forge our own path and bring morality and sensibility back to our discourse.


Justin Gillule

Smithboro, N.Y.

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