Richard S. Moline

Remember Moderation?

We used to live in a colorful world.  It was a mosaic, not only of different and sometimes clashing colors, but shapes and sizes, too.  It was a marketplace of ideas and ideologies.  It was a place where you could engage in civil discourse, where you could feel passionately about something and still get along with somebody who disagreed with you.

Now, everything is in black and white.

The world seems to have lost its color some time ago, and it was brought into focus during the mid-term elections in the United States.   Aside from the usual venomous attack ads, there was a pervasive attitude that you’re either on one side or another – it’s as if there is no more middle ground. No more moderation.  It’s either right or wrong.  You’re either for us or against us.  It’s not only true for extremists.  It’s also true for Congress.

We don’t really vote for the person anymore.  We vote for the ideology.   It’s rare to find somebody who is a fiscal conservative and a liberal on social issues.  We look for candidates who will vote with the party, not candidates who think for themselves.

Voting for a Republican must mean you’re anti-choice.  Voting for a Democrat obviously means you’re in favor of massive tax increases.

It’s further complicated when it comes to Israel, especially in the U.S.  If you supported Israel during the recent war in Gaza, some will claim you’re a racist while others will assume that means you support the razing of homes or more construction on the West Bank.  If you’re critical of a particular Israeli policy, it must mean that you’re anti-Zionist and support BDS.  If you support any of President Obama’s policies, you’re a socialist who is anti-Israel.  If you support any of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s initiatives, you’re a colonialist who is only interested in grabbing more land.

We now know what to think, not how to think.

What will it take to bring moderation and critical thinking back into our lives?  How can we emerge from this black and white world we are now living in and bring it back to color?

Think about it.  That is, if you can.

About the Author
Rich Moline is a Jewish educator, non-profit executive, and volunteer leader living in Chicago.