In our purpose statement, the Beacon states that we consider ourselves a nonpartisan fellowship with a pragmatic view on local issues. I have my own perspective on that and I call it the “radical moderate.”
I call it that because it seems in a deeply divided and angry world in order to have views which by most measured would be considered moderate, you have to take an in your face stance to deliver it. It isn’t easy around here to make room for that middle ground. While we may disagree on the Chauncey or the stance of the Standing Rock Sioux, there may be some things such as the promulgation of solar energy to our low-income residents where we can find some common ground.
I am suspicious of ideological fundamentalism whether it is from the right or the left. I do not believe that the only tool we have is a hammer and thus every problem is a nail. The point is that there are distinctions and every problem has unique characteristics due to local conditions, the stakeholders involved or the laws under which we operate.
The world is complex. It is not divided into victims and predators. There are numerous domains and manifold roles that we can play in each of those domains. Corporations and businesses are not universally evil or good. They are a tool with many facets that support our schools on the one hand and oppose the minimum wage or the bottle bill on the other. There are staunch supporters of hand guns who happen to be hunters committed to the preservation of duck habitat.
Government is neither universally positive nor negative – it too is a tool that depends on how we govern ourselves and whether or not we choose to stay home on Election Day. I believe in our rights, but am equally concerned about our responsibilities. I seem to be hearing infinitely more about the former than the latter lately. Wasn’t it us who elected our Presidential psychopath?
I am committed to finding ways to expand the opportunity that America affords but it is imperative that we make good choices – personally, economically and politically. I don’t think we live in an Oprah world where everyone regardless of their experience, education or knowledge has an opinion of equal merit. I have decided that I am not a populist anymore simply because I think that the people who know what they are doing should be making the decisions.
It’s is a simple credo. Pay attention to the things that matter. Educate yourself. Give your natural inclinations a little breathing room. Be willing to listen. Is that asking too much? If you really do not have anything constructive to contribute, keep it to yourself until you do.
I am eagerly looking forward to those of you who find these considerations objectionable. Please include your reasons. I am equally hopeful that there are others who agree and I would like to know why. I am intrigued by the quote attributed to Robert Frost: “Education is being able to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence.”
Let’s try that out.