We’re Better Than This

That is the Raging Moderate’s platform for moving our divided country forward.

While we are sure to see more drama in the closing weeks of the current Administration, we can find hope in the fact that the Center in America not only has held, it looks to be more empowered than ever with the experience of 2020 and the new Congress so closely split between the parties (whatever happens in Georgia this week). That gives us a real opportunity right now to make our country a fairer and better place for everyone by meeting in the middle.

The platform will be a mix of substance and style, which will be equally important to ultimately getting it done.

On the substance side, each day for the next 17 days will cover the key prongs of the platform, starting with the environment tomorrow and culminating with a closing post on inauguration day for the new Administration. The central issues of racial justice and support for rural America will be covered throughout the series, as they are critical to the success of every prong of the agenda. And some of the general principles that will guide each of the recommendations include:

  • Harnessing market forces to solve problems as much as practicable, recognizing that for many issues the market alone is not the answer.
  • Using the lightest hand possible to achieve the stated policy goals when we implement programs and regulate, with the principles of behavioral economics as a guide.
  • Recognizing that facts and science matter.  
  • Accountability, Accountability, Accountability.

While I expect there will be at least one thing just about everyone will not agree with in this platform, I believe every one of these proposals could command a solid majority of Americans. It will require inspired leadership in Congress to move past the vocal minorities who dominate each of our major political parties, but coming off a year like 2020, we may never have a better chance to do so.

Going back to the roots of this blog, I’ll use music whenever I can to find a good theme song, and sometimes a good book recommendation too. As Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw nicely documented in Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation, music has played a big part in our country’s political journey from the start, and whatever you think of the substance of the platform as your read on, I promise some good music!

The overall musical theme for the “We’re Better Than This” platform?

It is tempting to go with Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealers Wheel, because as we sadly have seen quite a bit of late, there are definitely a lot of clowns to the left and jokers to the right. But when we tune out those extremes, what we mostly see are people coming to the issues of the day from very different perspectives based on often widely varying life experiences.

And that’s where the style side comes in and will be essential to moving forward. Us and them narratives and gotcha tactics are not going to get us anywhere except further polarization. We can only move past the division that plagues our country by appealing to our shared values and our better selves. As a wise person recently put it, we need to give the gift of the benefit of the doubt to people who disagree with us.

The fundamental shared American values that drive this agenda include:

  • Leaving the world in a better place than we found it for those who follow us
  • Equality of opportunity for everyone
  • Liberty and justice for all
  • America as a nation of immigrants, and a beacon of freedom and hope in the world

I am not naïve here, we need to accept that the extremes on both sides are not suddenly going to become interested in meeting in the middle. However, they are the minority, and there is great potential to find common ground with the majority of the country who, while they may lean left or right on some or all issues, are closer to the middle than those vocal extremes who continue to have outsized voices in the media and social media narratives.

So the song I’m going to go with for the overall theme is the song that was the launch theme for this blog: the Rolling Stones classic, You can’t always get what you want. We are in this together, and we can do this. Onward and upward, and stay tuned for the details of the platform in the coming days.

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