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America Is Not a "Center-Right Nation"

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Message Patrick Frank
I challenge the proposition that America is a "center-right"- nation. This is the talking point that has been advanced by conservative and extreme right politicos, and echoed by far too many journalists and pundits across the land. To say that America is center-right is to ignore the left, which, according to recent polling, represents 22% of the population, more than forty million individuals. To promulgate this notion says more about the "promulgaters"- than it does about the political orientation(s) of the American people.

Polling taken at the time of the 2008 election""reported in Newsweek and discussed by Media Matters""indicates that Americans break down this way, with respect to politics--44% moderate, 34% conservative, and 22% liberal.

It is disingenuous for the political propagandists to forget liberals when they repeat--over and over, through the media--that America is center-right, and short-sighted of them to forget that America is changing. Their purpose is to advance their distorted proposition, and convincing Americans that it is so. But we are not talking, here, merely about a political game that is being played. It represents a dangerous flaw in political thinking, a tendency to dismiss minority opinion as irrelevant to the discourse about  public policy.

America is about the strength that flows out of diversity. We are inclined, in our best moments, to weigh a variety of political options. We listen, with an open mind, to Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Socialists, etc.. Then we make up our minds about what is best for our nation, at a particular moment in time.

Americans tend to be more practical than ideological in their approach to politics. We are inclined to embrace public policy that will benefit ordinary people, regardless of any label. This explains--in part--the appeal of President-elect Obama, a "moderate-liberal," to be sure, but clearly a man who is willing to incorporate a variety of opinion into his formulation of policy.

Americans recognize that Obama is a very smart man with a strong practical bent and is most concerned about advancing the best political policy--for the sake of the people--regardless of how it may be labeled.

Liberalism implies open-mindedness. Conservatism implies care and prudence. Moderation suggests the capacity to look at both sides of an issue and adopt a reasonable approach to solving a problem.. To deal with the current economic crisis, we need leaders who possess all three of these qualities--in varying degrees, to be sure.

We also need leaders who possess a strong capacity for altruism--not self-seeking individuals, but those concerned with the general welfare of all Americans.  We need leaders who recognize that wisdom flows out of dialogue. We need leaders who are not hamstrung and blinded by prejudice. Liberals, conservatives, and moderates--all have the capacity to manifest these traits.

The vast majority of Americans understand that is time to put aside bitter partisanship. As Barack Obama has made clear, our time is now, and the concept of "our" inclusive, not just Democrats or liberals, but all well-meaning citizens. Hate is not an option, if we are to dig ourselves out of the mess that WE--collectively--have created, economically and otherwise.

Let us not forget three of our most powerful traits as a people--practicality, optimism, and never-give-up attitude. We also like to think for ourselves, not be spoon-fed any political orientation. I wish to remind the media of that. We can distinguish between propaganda and a clear-minded presentation of the facts or a particular point of view.
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My background is as follows: I am a Master's level teacher-counselor, poet-essayist and advocate for the poor whose poetry and prose have been published in more than 70 periodicals. My opinion pieces have been published in The State Newspaper, (more...)

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