Sat, Jun

Is Centrism Our Best Hope?


THE VIEW FROM HERE - Because polarized emotionalism sells better than rational analysis and the rise of cable news and cable TV, Americans no longer can find centrist viewpoints.  In fact, the situation in news, which has become a means to make money devoid of any honest objectivity, is paralleled by the niche markets of HOB, Showtime, Netflix, etc. These entertainment vehicles are not available to Americans in general as they are all subscription fee based. The wealthy chattering classes know all the episodes of Game of Thrones,  while tens of millions of Americans have never seen a single episode. 

When we kicked off the yoke of the British Empire, we rallied around freedom of the press. In those days, the formative story was about newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger whom the British royal governor had accused of defamation in 1734.  The jury, however, acquitted Zenger.  The point which is overlooked today is that in the 1700's until the late 1990's, the only real threat to freedom of the press was the government which was still a threat during the Vietnam War Era. See  Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers  . The government is still a threat and will always be the foe of a free press.  However, Americans now face a more serious danger – the financial reality of diversity.  When anyone may publish anything and make money by publishing falsehoods and stirring up fear and hatred, freedom of the press no longer protects our inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.  See Hate Money Stalks America

When technology only allowed three major networks, they all had to cater to the same market, Centrist America.  Politics followed suit which is why The John Birch Society was excised from the Republican Party.  As post WW II America felt secure in its prosperity, it allowed more self criticism. Harvest of Shame, which CBS aired day after Thanksgiving 1960, was the first prime time TV documentary on the plight of migrant farm workers.  Its gist was simple – certain segments of America cannot avail themselves of America’s abundance.  It was a critique of poverty and not of race. Americans’ economy security allowed them to entertain the concept that everyone should have equal opportunity under the American formula: Life + Liberty = Happiness.  When President Lyndon Johnson started his War on Poverty (January 8, 1964), it too was not racial and was as concerned with poor Whites in Appalachia as Mexican farm workers in the South West.  The Vietnam War protests a few years later (first protest 1965) were to protect White college students from being sent to die in some rice paddy ten gazillion miles away.  Although the Vietnam War protests were on behalf of middle class, there was no niche media to which the college educated could turn, they had to win their case before Centrist America.  The common denominator of Harvest of Shame, the War on Poverty, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War protests was that Americans had access to the same facts and the same American ethos of inalienable individual rights.  While the condition of migrant farmer workers might be new information to millions of Americans, there was no counter-narrative that Mexican migrants were “ bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists” as Trump claimed in January 2016. 

For over twenty years, however, America’s monetization of lies, fear-mongering, hate-speech, and bombastic racism has been highly profitable,    guaranteeing a market for the most vile of notions, e.g., Sandy Hook was a fraud.  In the low tech-era of the three networks, Sen. Joe McCarthy was the worst we saw and he was nullified rather than elected President. When Trump was trampling on American core values while claiming to defend them, the Dems had been secreting their own vile racism into the college campuses and universities.  After the October 7, 2024 Hamas pogrom on 22 Israeli towns where 1,200 were murdered, untold women were raped and mutilated, and 240 were taken hostage, America started to see racist ideology which had been taking over major institutions. 

First, there was December 2023 Congressional testimony from the presidents of three Ivy League colleges that calling for the genocide of Jews would be OK within the “right context.” No one asked them what the right context would be. 

Second, America saw the idiot banners “Gays for Palestine” and Ivy League support for Hamas mass slaughter, rapes, and hostage taking which the US Woke media forgot were war crimes. 

Third, as the weeks passed and then months passed, Americans learned about the results of Nancy Pelosi’s Identity Politics with the campus encampments in support of Hamas and the extermination of Jews. The Woke US news refused to report the continual harassment of Jewish campus students, even thought it had been happening under the radar for years.  Quite slowly, Americans came to realize that they were being gaslighted.  The demonstrations showed no concern for the plight of Gazans, only their hatred of Israel and Jews in general. 

How Is it That America Was Caught Unawares of the Racism of Wokeism? 

Foremost is the fact that America had become polarized to the extent that there is an extreme right wing media and an extreme left wing media but no centrist media. Another factor is the nature of the right wing critiques of Wokeism.  When one looks at the clear warnings which were coming for years from places like the Claremont Institute, one sees that their legitimate concerns usually came with poison pills, i.e., primarily irrational anti-Gay diatribes.  (I attended Claremont Men’s College and had the professors on whose philosophy the Institute claims to be based.)  

Even in public, the GOP anti-Wokeism rages tend to focus on sex.  Politicians such as Florida’s Governor Ran DeSantis was obsessed with the (non-existent) Gay Agenda.  Conservative Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, however, had based Gay Rights 100% on the individual’s inalienable right of liberty and not on Woker claim to “diversity equity and inclusiveness.”  See Lawrence vs. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)  Gays and Jews have a similar position – do not discriminate against us based on ascriptive status, but judge us as individuals. By foolishly leading with its homophobia and anti-genderism, places like the Claremont Institute discredited their crucial critiques of early Wokeism.  Calling bigotry “morality” does not erase the bigotry.   

If fear, hate, and polarization did not bring such huge financial rewards, Americans would still be a centrist country which was slowly expanding its prosperity to all rather than become a house divided against itself. 

De-registration is the Average American’s Tool To Fight Against Extremism

Each GOP and each Dem should de-register from his/her political party and re-register as Independent, Non-Affiliated, No Party.  When enough Americans declare themselves to be non-extremist by quitting their political party and not joining the other party, politicos will start to heed the Center.   Everyone who remains within their current party is supporting extremism. If it is not Trump’s extreme anti-Mexicanism, it’s Biden’s Woker anti-Semitism.  Let’s be clear that even the pro-Hamas UN has admitted that Biden’s basis to withhold military aid to Israel is bogus. There has been no indiscriminate bombing, there has been no targeting of civilians. As virtually every thinking person in the world knew, Hamas was lying about the casualties. It was counting dead Hamas militants as murdered women and children.  Although even the UN has recently come clean, mas or menos, about the Gazans death, Biden still refuses to acknowledge facts. See UN Halves Number Killed  as published in May 11, 2024, “Foundation for Defense of Democracies”  Nonetheless, Biden refuses to retract his defamatory accusations against Israel. Biden’s continued falsehoods about Israel are far worse that President Johnson’s deception underlying the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  

Question: Why does Biden cling to Woker falsehoods? 

Answer: Because Dem Wokeism not fact based, but it is an Oppressor Oppressed ideology which is a dogmatic as Islamic theology.  Core to Wokeism is that Jews, all Jews, by virtue of being Jews, are oppressors and must be eliminated. Hence, embargo arms to Israel. 

The average American has only one small tool –de-registration now.  Talk of not voting Dem or GOP is worthless. De-registration with re-registration as an unaffiliated Centrist sends the immediate message that Americans reject polarization based on hate, fear, and lies.

(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected].)