I like to think of myself as a reasonable man. I have my beliefs, convictions, oddities, the like, but I don’t feel threatened when they are questioned or in conflict. I take it on a case-by-case basis. Is this principle irrelevant now? Do I rethink some of my beliefs when necessary when the situation calls for it? Yes, yes I do.
However, it’s not always that simple, and sometimes I have to stand firm in my principles. Problem is, sometimes the situation isn’t as lenient, and against a person who is of the polar belief as I am, all we can do is either stare at each cross-eyed, or I find something interesting on the wall while the other person literally goes Chernobyl.
I am a firm believer of moderation. It balances an issue, either from extreme sides of an issue, or bringing light to a minority opinion that might otherwise be lost in a sea of majority opinion. Moderation isn’t necessarily a weakness in conviction or strength; rather, it is an example of personal strength and restraint to keep an open mind without rejecting ideas outright, unless of course, they are mind-blowingly stupid, like banning sun block lotion because they blocked the suns rays.
Unfortunately, more and more people are straying from the moderate ground, either because they do not feel as though being moderate was enough to advance themselves, or because they are pressured by like-minded elements to do so.
It’s not a good sign, and certainly not a healthy course for intelligent discussion to take. With less people willing to toe the middle ground, to see both sides of the issue and make an insightful, smart decision based on their findings. Moderates also take their case and present it with as much facts as possible, while acknowledging the opposing arguments and having intelligent discourse.
These days, there is none of that, because being an obnoxious brat seems to get you the most viewers, ratings, and money, not to mention advancing their career. South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson cried out, “You lie!” right during the President’s address. What did Wilson get for his rudeness? A few million dollars in contribution money, and popularity.
As much as it fills me with disappointment, the moderate in me knows that Wilson probably had a stroke of genius in shouting during that speech.
The moderate in me also see’s the reasoning in departing from the aesthetically pleasing world of moderate discussion. I can see the perception that being moderate simply does not do it anymore, that only the loudest, abrasive, headstrong wins debates and dictates what happens, often at a cost of themselves or some third-party.
It’s tempting, and I cannot lie, to simply shake off the tethers of moderate debate and just relax, shaking my head and simply just be a gray wall, and not be thought of any less by other people.
Unfortunately, I can’t let myself do that, I have too much pride to simply let go of moderation, too much pride in myself being an independent person able to think for himself and for others as well and not letting personal advancement cloud my opinions and principals. I hope that one day, people will put the same value in moderate debate as I do.
Until then, I will remain that guy in the back.
Dan Sayles, a senior journalism major, is copy editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.