What’s so good about being moderate?

Back in the 90’s (I think) the term moderation took on a mantle of respectability and desirability in politics. Perhaps it was Bill Clinton who made the idea popular, although since Bill stole every platform he ever used I doubt he is the originator, but I digress…

So somewhere during the slick willie days (funny how that term has pertinent meaning today) being a moderate or approaching issues with moderation became important. Yes, moderation was goooooood – whereas sticking to political core principles was baaaaaaad.

And as is often the case, pop culture took on the mantle of moderation too. Exercise in moderation, eat in moderation, one must never over-do things. Because employing moderation is safe, everybody will like you, you won’t risk injury to your body, nor seem extreme to others.

And lately of course the non-moderate media (NMM) hails the current nominee for the Supreme Court as a moderate. A true moderate. As opposed to what? A false moderate? A pretend moderate? A moderate with exceptions? Again…I digress… Anyway, here’s the question that keeps roiling around in my head: Why is being a moderate good? Seriously, what’s so damn wonderful about moderation?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines moderation:

transitive verb 1 : to lessen the intensity or extremeness of (the sun moderated the chill)
2 : to preside over or act as chairman of
intransitive verb 1 : to act as a moderator
2 : to become less violent, severe, or intense (the wind began to moderate)

So, essentially we see that moderation speaks to less intensity. Hmm…and this is good why? To me, intensity speaks to passion and passion speaks to commitment. A true belief or desire in what one does or says. I can certainly see why one would want to moderate electricity or water flow, because then we humans can control the darn stuff. But when it comes to people, to beliefs and to principles is moderation truly that desirable?

Isn’t moderation what got us into the whole politically correct approach to language, achievement, education, and everything. Hasn’t moderation modified us all and I mean that in a not a good way.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to address food with moderation. I love food. I don’t want to be moderate I want to embrace it with passion and enjoyment. Same with love. And really with any activity or endeavor. Otherwise why get involved at all. If one addressed everything in their life with moderation who would invent things? Who would create wildly new and exciting innovations in science, medicine, art, music, literature, technology. Do you think iPods, the Internet, automobiles, movies, and great works of art came about through moderation? Do you think that great leaders are born out of moderation? Do you think cures for diseases came from moderate individuals? Is the SuperBowl won by athletes who approach the field with moderation? How about the Olympics, are we celebrating moderation or excellence and passion?

So, then why would we want a Supreme Court Justice who was moderate? Who was dare I say it, almost bored at the prospect of serving their country and the most sacred of our documents the Constitution? Why would we want someone who would put fairness above the law?

Contrary to popular opinion, we are not a democracy. We are a republic and we use a democratic system of government – meaning, we allow individuals to participate in government and legislation and to have a voice through their individual vote.

Again I turn to Merriam Webster:


(1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law


1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

And if you don’t see the difference let me point it out. A republic is governed by the rule of law – a democracy is governed by majority rule. A fine distinction perhaps but a distinction nonetheless. And that my friends is why our Constitution is so important because it is in fact, the personification of the rule of law. And thusly, that is why nominees to the Supreme Court are so important. Because we want someone who understands and adheres to the rule of law. Not someone who seeks to modify it, to make it fairer, to level the playing field, to add to it, to make it a living breathing document. What document can be that? Living and breathing? If the founders wanted the Constitution to be a living breathing document as some would have you believe then why would an entire process of amendment be included in the document itself? It is the amendment process that enables the Constitution to be changed/expanded, not some yahoo’s idea of what the document should be. And those who promote this concept of living breathing also seek to deny you your rights and the protection of the Constitution. They seek to bypass the law of making amendments which again must be ratified and agreed upon by the majority of the country – you the governed.

Whether you like it or not, our government serves at our pleasure and with that concept comes grave responsibility. If we do not insist on our government following the rule of law, we will soon be following their rules and this country will cease being a republic.

And speaking for myself, I have no interest in moderates. To me, a moderate is a person who cannot decide, who does not have any passion in their life or activities and who seeks to destroy that in others. Who seeks to nullify any personal excellence and achievement in others and prefers to force us all to be the same. All average. All boring. With every ounce of passion and individuality bred out of us.

So moderate? Exuse me while I yawn. Give me someone who is passionate about what they believe and do any day of the week.


2 thoughts on “What’s so good about being moderate?

  1. Hi Writer Chick…I don’t get into political debates much…but …I love the photo on this post!!! Made me smile !! Can’t have too many of those. Thanks.

    Hey Sal,
    No, I don’t suppose we do get too many smiles. Glad you got one.



  2. “Moderate” has many shades of meaning, depending on the context, and you mentioned a lot of them. Describing Kagan as a moderate is similar to calling her a centrist. She doesn’t lean very far left or right. And I get the feeling she is quite passionate about maintaining her moderate centrist position. In that sense, I think “moderate” is a good thing, and refreshing in today’s terrible fractured, polarized political environment. I wish we had more politicians who were passionate about the middle of the road instead of the far left or right, and I really think most Americans are somewhere in the middle, not toward the extremes of what currently pass for our two major political parties. And we’re passionate about not being extremists.

    Hey Girl,
    Yes, nuance…I have a use for nuance but I think it’s more applicable to art than life in general and definitely politics. Personally, I don’t want nuance in politics or political leaders I want to know where they stand. Leaders are chosen for their principles and presumedly higher ideals and their desire to serve and help others. So for me, no place for nuance or shades of meanings in that arena.

    As to Kagan, I was being sarcastic. I could never see her as a moderate or centrist – as far as I’m concerned she is quite the leftie and I don’t mean that in a good way. I’m not sure how one could be passionate about being a centrist though, that doesn’t make sense to me.

    As to the political parties, they are what they are. I’m not sure I would describe either as fractured or polarized at least any more so than usual but I do believe largely due to the Internet that we are more aware of what political philosophies consist of and how people view them.

    As I understand it, even the Founding Fathers weren’t that much into bi-partisanship or the ‘let’s just all get along’ approach in politics. They set up government so that there would be passion and disagreement, believing that it would be more likely to save the country from tyranny. Each political party represents a different side of the coin and it is (in my opinion) those differences that bring about the necessity to assess the real issues and somehow come to an agreement on what is best for the people. If we were all in the middle and agreed on everything, we wouldn’t need a government at all.

    At any rate, I guess we don’t agree. Oh well and the world keeps turning anyway.

    Happy 4th!



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