Recently, someone penned a commentary admonishing the AFN for not publishing more reasoned, intellectual and fact-based op-eds (“More rational thought needed,” by Bob Beane, June 17). The AFN, in my humble opinion, is doing a fine job of presenting viewpoints that represent both sides of the political spectrum. Kudos and huzzahs to the editorial staff at the AFN.

So, is a political moderate one who eschews the free press? Is a political moderate one who believes freedom of speech and the press apply only to those who agree with his or her point of view, be it liberal, conservative or “moderate?”

None other than the esteemed liberal, Robert Reich, said the political center is bogus. In an editorial for the Washington Post, June 7, 2001, he wrote— “The political ‘center’ is imaginary, and its recent elevation as a desirable place for politicians to inhabit is dangerously misleading. What’s more, the politician who seeks to move there is abdicating any semblance of political leadership.”

At the close of the editorial, he made the following remark: “Centrism is bogus. There’s no well-defined, consistent political center in America. And the rush by politicians to the so-called center is a meager substitute for sharp, open debate about what a nation needs to do, and why.”

Dick Morris, former Democrat political advisor to President Clinton, became a Republican after he saw the light. He, too, says there’s no such thing as a political moderate. The current political climate has become so polarized it’s almost impossible to be a “moderate.”

In his autobiography, Mark Twain said: “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the question at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” Hmmm... That sounds familiar!

Will Rogers made the comment: “When you straddle a thing it takes a long time to explain it.”

H. L. Mencken had a slightly different observation: “Have you ever watched a crab on the shore crawling backward in search of the Atlantic Ocean, and missing? That’s the way the mind of man operates.”

Now, what is a political moderate? Is it one who has fooled himself into believing in only the best of both sides of the political spectrum (a straddler), or is it one who may not understand the gravity of the problems that face our nation today? Could it be a disingenuous liberal who is trying to conceal his true identity? Perhaps it’s all of the above. In any case, he may have missed the ocean.

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