With apologies to the Doobie Brothers, who took “What a Fool Believes” to the top of the charts in 1979, here is what I believe moderates like me want. I’m not going to tell you what political persuasion I favor, but maybe you can guess by the end of this piece. Hopefully not. The political fringes of both parties get all the attention, but I firmly believe that most Americans, largely silent Americans, fall somewhere in the middle.

As a moderate, I believe both sides get the benefit of the doubt until they abuse that privilege. How can they do that? By denigrating and demonizing the

other side with a wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth kind of glee. This is rampant today and gets us nowhere. Clearly there are patriots on both sides that care deeply about their country and fight ferociously for what they believe in. Unfortunately, there are also politicians, consultants, lobbyists, TV and radio personalities, and even ordinary Americans who see this as a big game that must have clear winners and losers. I hope we can start to aim higher than that and that moderates can lead the way. I’ll take a look at just three issues — gun safety, immigration, and health care policy.

Moderates do not want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. Why would we? By definition, they are good people. I don’t see the attraction in guns, but then again I don’t see the attraction in kale and quinoa. But I have family and friends who enjoy guns immensely for sport and self-defense, and that is fine. What moderates do want is sensible regulation of guns that brings ownership up to the same standards as automobiles — meaning licensing and registration. It also means closing gun show loopholes, universal criminal background checks, limiting new sales of assault weapons and other guns of war, and emergency confiscation of guns by family members of troubled individuals. Is that really too much to ask? I guess I’m asking responsible gun owners to take a small hit for the American people so there is less chance of random gun violence and saying unexpected, sorrowful goodbyes to loved ones. I believe the fact that the GOP-controlled Virginia legislature would not even discuss gun regulation during a recent special session called by the governor has sealed their fate in the next election. Moderates will put up with a lot of nonsense, but not dereliction of duty when people are dying.

Moderates believe in an immigration policy that meets migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers with kindness, not vitriol and hatred. It is the height of arrogance to deny or forget that we are all sons and daughters of immigrants that benefited from open borders. There but for the grace of God go I. We don’t want open borders, but we don’t think a wall is the answer either. We wish for the Statue of Liberty, not a steel wall, to remain the symbol of America. We want orderly immigration that is administered by more judges. We want more aid to Latin American countries so that we tackle the problem at its origin, helping their citizens have a chance at a better life in their own country. Ask yourself how desperate people have to be to set off on a 1,000-mile trek with small children to an unfamiliar land with no promise of a better life at the end of it. Immigration is a vexing problem, but unsolvable? Of course not. We simply need to take the emotion out and demand our politicians meet in the middle.

Moderates believe that quality health care is a right for all and not a privilege for only those who can afford it. We also don’t believe that Medicare for All is the answer. Medicare and Medicaid are already underfunded and rife with abuse. It’s difficult to see how this could be sensibly financed and managed despite what the politicians say. Overall reform of our health care system is sorely needed. It does not work well for many of us. “Obamacare,” while not perfect, was a step in the right direction. Threats to repeal Obamacare, with nothing in the works to replace it, are irresponsible. Most Americans seem to sense this, yet the threats continue.

For all issues, moderates want our best minds to come together and, in the best case, reach consensus or, if need be, compromise. We are tired of all the rancor and political scorekeeping. Words are cheap. Reasonable politicians who can show the maturity needed to build consensus and reach compromise should get our vote no matter the party affiliation. It won’t just happen. The message has to come loud and clear at the ballot box. Please join me in telling the two political fringes that we’ve had enough. This won’t be easy, but as John Lennon said, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Search out candidates who don’t spout the party line automatically and don’t seem to have all the answers already but show thoughtfulness and a willingness to learn.

And one final thought: If you think your side is always right and the other side is always wrong, I congratulate you for having life figured out better than the rest of us. The freedom this affords must be quite satisfying. But just consider for a moment all the damage you are doing if you really are wrong after all.

Gary Bennett serves as the director of marketing at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington. Before that, he has served in similar roles at other trade associations, including a stint as an editor at Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, a publisher of business-to-business notification and references services in the fields of business, tax and law. He’s lived in Frederick for more than 30 years.

(30) comments

rikkitikkitavvi

Does anyone know the name Elizabeth Cochran Seaman? I put the question to you that way because anyone that actually remembers her is probably near death. Does anyone remember what she is infamous for? Long ago and far away she went undercover to expose the atrocities of the insane asylums. Little did Nellie Bly know what her endeavor would unleash on the unsuspecting society of today. The current, heavily medicated insane are no longer under close observation in a controlled environment. They simply walk around un-tethered in our society until they snap, crackle and pop on any and all of us at any time. The unsuspecting innocents just want to pursue Life, Liberty and happiness. What could possibly go wrong with "They Live" (Rowdy Roddy Piper) amongst us? The MK-Ultra project ties in nicely. But I'll leave it at that before I'm accused of being manic. Again. Have a MAGA day everyone!

StrengthofLiberty

1. "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell. 2. Cruelty, like every other vice requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity. - George Eliot 3. Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and set themselves free from fools. - Maybe these thoughts don't apply in the United States of There's An App for That Entertainment!

Dwasserba

I'm reading and my ears aren't bleeding. Who writes like this.

rikkitikkitavvi

I had you pegged at "until they abuse that privilege." Which privilege did they abuse? To be moderate? Or to be "largely silent Americans" and mind their own business while they the "true moderate" tells them what is truly best for them. Who and what defines what a "true moderate" thinks or does or feels? Get a sheet of paper. Turn it sideways. Fold it in half with a very sharp crease. That line, as I define it is the true moderate. Anybody see where I'm going with this yet? Let's make the edge on the left side the political "fringe" of, you got it, the left side. Now do the same labeling for the Right side. Return to the middle we now divide each side into three defining columns. Let's begin with the left side again since I tend to read left to right. Make a third from the edge the lowest moderate. Edging out the fringe of the" wild--eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth #anevermoderate mob by a bleeding nose and a black eye. The next third should have the privilege of almost making it by being defined as the middle moderate. One third left. Simplicity tells me to define them as the Uppers. They are as close to being a true moderate as you can. Do the same thing for the Right side now. Back to the left. Divide each of the original thirds in half. Start closest to the middle this time. Divide this third as follows from top to bottom. Upper/upper, Middle/upper. lower upper. Our lower/upper friends are the closest to being Lower/middle. It sounds like true moderates, however you want to define them think the know what's best for this whole country. Does the writer also believe that the electoral college by way of a very historical document of this country is outdated? Perhaps even in need of a do over?



Final thought: Give a "True Moderate" an inch they'll want a mile.



Final answer: No

hayduke2

Too much coffee this morning?

threecents

The letter writer pegged you pretty well:

"As a moderate, I believe both sides get the benefit of the doubt until they abuse that privilege. How can they do that? By denigrating and demonizing the other side with a wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth kind of glee."

I admit that I am not moderate concerning Trump, as I find him to be an ugly person - much less president, but I am not going to rub your face in it if he loses in a landslide in the next election.

rikkitikkitavvi

In your progressive non-moderate mind cents.



"...until they abuse that privilege" you didn't answer the pointed question I asked and skipped a couple steps in the process to get to the "frothing at the mouth part. Stay with me cents. I know you can do it. Try harder. The question was: What Privilege did they abuse? You are not a moderate in any sense of the word cents. Get over yourself

threecents

Rikki, There is a good reason I didn't answer your question: It bored me. Seriously, I think you are manic today.

rikkitikkitavvi

Well cents it is "just another manic Thursday."

phydeaux994

rikkitikkitavvi fancies himself a very “clever” responder with his “witty” comebacks that no one understands. But ask him “why do you support Trump” or “what is your definition of Racism” and you’ll get SILENCE.

DickD

Three, you definitely are more moderate than me. Congratulations.

DickD

At least you are giving this some thought, ric, let me congratulate you. Now, please allow me to say you are not moderate, nor am I. I was more moderate before Trump, not so much now.  You can peg yourself.

rikkitikkitavvi

"Peg" myself. cute dick. Real cute.

gary4books

Very well stated.

richardlyons

Well stated sir.

phydeaux994

Thank you. You wrote it more coherently than I could have but you expressed the viewpoint I have held all my adult life. I have considered myself a moderate leaning a little left socially. Of course some here will scream “A LITTLE”??? But I guess I am not the only dreamer. Thank you.

gabrielshorn2013

LOL, phy, if you leaned any further left, you would be horizontal. [innocent]

phydeaux994

For instance gab. Examples please. I believe exactly the same things Mr. Bennett expressed. I am in the 60% of Americans that don’t agree with anything Don has done or stands for. I stand with Nancy Palosi and the great Speech Joe Biden gave yesterday. So give me examples of things that I have said that are Left of those beliefs. Put up or, what did Trump say, “keep quiet”. You are an angry man on the wrong side. But in your favor, you like baseball as I do. Peace. ✌️

gabrielshorn2013

I told you before phy, I don't get angry. I guess you missed the "LOL" and "[innocent]" in my response to you. There was no offense intended, so pull the stick out dude. Fact is, you're the one that works himself into a tizzy all the time. Me? Cool as a cucumber 😎. Moderation is a relative state, dependent on who is doing the observing. Yep, always loved baseball, and still do. Going to see the O's this weekend.

threecents

The O's don't make you angry? Some things must make you angry, no?

rikkitikkitavvi

Gabe, Don't look now but you have another fish nibbling at your line by the name of threecents[smile] Have some more fun and reel him in.

phydeaux994

I assumed you were laughing at me gab, figuratively, as you usually do, not with me. I have a problem reading your mind sometimes. And add to my request for examples of my comments “working myself into a tizzy”. And I definitely remember your angry response when you said “I called you a name” and accused me of other dastardly deeds against your person. And again more recently when I said I was for National Gun Registration and Transfer Laws, which Moderate Mr. Bennett called for in this LTE.

gabrielshorn2013

Nope, I don't t waste my time with anger phy. There seems to be a bit of transference on your part here. You cannot determine my mood by my writing, and I have told you many times that you infer what was not implied. You called me a racist for pointing out that the murders in Chicago are concentrated in the inner city, and I responded that you were ofay, since I am of Creole heritage. Not angry. You also said that you don't care what gun owners think about your demanding that all guns be registered. Your demand is not realistic or enforceable, so I told you that you can pound sand (look it up). Again, not angry. As for examples of you going into a tizzy...really? If you keep a record of what you wrote (I don't) read them. I'm not going to continue the back and forth on this. Have a good evening. Gabe

gabrielshorn2013

Three, no, I'm not a fair weather fan. As the sons says, "Let's root, root, root for the home team. If they don't win it's a shame..." Even in their current state, they play at a much higher level than I ever did in HS or college. I root for the Ravens too.

phydeaux994

gab, again, and again, a Racist is someone that believes his/her race, be it White, Black, Creole, is Superior to others. Your comments about Blacks in Chicago, and Hispanics in Frederick, make me aware that you consider those races inferior to whatever race you are. Racist isn’t an epithet, it’s a label, description of your feelings. You agree with CD, rb, user1, rikkitikkitavvi, BunnyLou, jerseygrl, all of the BTT(BullyTagTeam) most of the time, you share their beliefs about most things they say here. What should I believe?

gabrielshorn2013

Phy, I never said anything about blacks in Chicago. You inferred it. I was talking about drug gang violence. What have I ever said about Hispanics in Frederick? You really have a vivid imagination. I have discussed gang violence, since they buried one of their victims down the street from my home, and where I regularly walk. You seem to think that talking about areas where crime is concentrated is somehow racist. If you continue to believe that...whatever floats your boat dude. I have never considered my heritage superior to anyones, so please, don't make stuff up.

phydeaux994

And you gab, have a very convenient memory. We had a discussion one day about the MS13 presence in Frederick. In fact that was the day I started using the BTT(BullyTagTeam) reference, you were leading a gang up on me because I didn’t, and still don’t believe there was ever a MS13 gang problem here. Did you ever say “Cajuns are superior to Blacks and Hispanics”? No you were using the euphemism “inner city” and other buzz words implying disdain. As far as “what I was talking about was gangs” like Russian and Czechoslovakian, in Chicago??, like I said I am not able to read your mind. BTW, just for the record, why do you support Trump? What is your definition of Racism? Perhaps if I understood why you take offense at my comments, I could read your mind more accurately. Just a thought. Peace. 🆗

DickD

Enjoy yourself, Gabe, baseball is boring to me, give me football and basketball.

gabrielshorn2013

Nice to hear from you phy. If you are truly interested in engaging in a dialog to understand, fine, I’m game. Where to start. Regarding the MS13 discussions, it was coincidence that I engaged you on the topic at the same time as the others. Nobody “ganged up on you”. I certainly didn’t. I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. There was no collusion, if that’s what you are implying. I provided you links to articles in this very paper as evidence that MS13 is here in Frederick. The ultimate evidence for me was when they buried one of their victims within eyesight of my home. Did someone make that up? No, it was clearly reported as a MS13 murder. As far as being a member of your “Bully Tag Team”, disagreeing with you puts me on that exclusive list? If you don’t want anyone to respond to you, add “please, no comments” to the end of your post. Unfortunately, there is no way to disable the reply button. BTW, I have agreed with you many times, and have given you a thumbsup when I did. I also agree with DickD, hayduke, Shiftless88, Samantha, and others. Do they agree with you 100% of the time? Are they guilty by association because I agree with them on many issues?

Regarding the term “inner cities”, please look up a color-coded crime incidence map of any state. You will see that the vast majority of murders, both in numbers and rate, are concentrated in the inner cities. Denying that fact is denying reality, and pointing it out does not make one “a racist”. Why is there so much violent crime (including murder by guns) in the inner cities? Poverty, lack of opportunity, drugs, and gangs, and ultimately a loss of hope for a better future. Again, pointing that out does not make one “a racist”. If you knew anything about Chicago, you will not find that level of crime along the Magnificent Mile neighborhood of ritzy shops, and expensive high-rise appartments . You will find it concentrated in certain neighborhoods, look it up. I have been in those neighborhoods. If you knew anything about the ethnic makeup of those neighborhoods, yes they are predominantly black, but there are large ethnic concentrations of Russians, Poles, Albanians, Hispanics, etc. (Google ethnic makeup of Chicago. I have many friends living all around the city, of all ethnicities, so I already know), and each of those ethnic groups has their own gangs protecting their turf (again, Google can be your friend). Please look up violent crime reports for Chicago. It is beyond my comprehension that, when discussing street violence in the inner cities, your mind immediately went to blacks and racism. I neither stated, nor implied such a thing. It was your incorrect inference. But rather than ask for clarification, you pounced and called me a racist. Are the Mayors of Chicago or Baltimore racists for pointing out the violence in their inner cities? Why, or why not?

You appear to disdain my ethnic heritage of Cajun Creole. Do you even know what that means? I’m sure the black and many enlightened white commenters here know. Let me give you some other things that we have been called. How about Redbone? Mulatto? (please Google Creole, Redbone, and Mulatto). That part of my heritage settled the Southern Louisiana area long before the Louisiana Purchase. Freemen, slaves, French Canadian, Spanish, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish. We are the caramel mocha macchiado of ethnicities; an intermingling of black coffee, chocolate, caramel and cream mixed into one flavorful sweet blend of all races. Some of us are darker, and some of us are lighter, but we all share the sweetness in the genetics of our heritage. Yes, I am all of those, black, brown, amber, and white. So when you said that I was denigrating black people, it was absurd. Now that I have explained my ethnicity, can you see the absurdity? At no time has any ethnicity ever entered any conversation I engage in here, or anywhere. I know the bitter sting of being called a n*****, to my face and behind my back, do you? As I said before, I no longer get angry about it because there is no better FU to your detractors than success. No I do not consider my ethnicity above anyone else’s, nor am I below theirs. BTW, what is your ethnic background?

You ask why I support Trump. Are you kidding? I never have, and most posters on this board know that. Because I don’t set my hair ablaze at the mere mention of his name, that is support? That is TDS. As I said before, I grew up just outside of NYC, and have known Donald Trump by reputation from all the TV coverage he received there for decades. A HS friend of mine went to work for him after grad school, but quit within a year, telling us “what an (FNP will kot allow me to use the word)”. He has a vile persona that I could never support, so I sat out my first election of any type since 1976. I am not a Republican, I am a Libertarian. That political philosophy encompasses many conservative and liberal ideas. I do have a problem with mass migration, which is also shared by mrnatural and md1756. We have economic reasons, such as an overwhelming surplus of low skill workers in this country, whose potential unskilled labor jobs are set to be reduced by 50% in 20 years. We have a shortage of high-skilled workers, and there are over a million unfilled high skilled jobs. Our environment is overtaxed, and we use fertilizers and toxic chemicals to maintain our food production. The Ogallala aquifer, a region that supplies approximately 37% of the nations food, is drying up. Climate change will cause saltwater to spoil Maryland’s Eastern Shore farmland. Same goes for Florida and coastal farming regions. We need to think of how we will maintain ourselves before we can begin to help others. As a trained first responder, we all know that it may be the gallant thing to do to try to save someone, but is is not the smart thing if both you and the intended rescue end up dying.



That’s enough for today.

DickD

[lol] Funny, Gabe, funny.

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