Turn on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC, and most of what you see from our elected representatives is partisan screaming. The left preys on the flaws of the right, the right preys on the flaws of the left and all sides try to prey on the emotions of potential voters. Political figures scream so loud about special interests and about such extreme views, that whatever heart may actually have been in their message gets drowned out. It is a spectacle.

I was once disappointed to turn on the television and view the never ending circus. I would think to myself and discuss with my friends that it was so upsetting that politics in this country had become so uncivil. I thought it sad that politics were dominated by such extreme voices from all sides and by such extremists.

Then, something amazing happened. I realized the truth about the situation. Or more appropriately, I looked at the situation in a different light and realized that good things can come from what seems to be chaos.

These wackos on the left and the right who vehemently push their agendas, no matter how extreme they actually are, are doing one thing correctly – they are pushing their agendas! These are normal people, and whether I agree with them or not, many are intelligent and talented. These are ordinary people with real concerns, and they have chosen to be leaders and voice their concerns. I used to complain that the moderate voice, the voice of the majority of Americans, had been lost in today’s political debate. The fact is, it still hasn’t been found, at least not in the right way.

The Christian conservatives have come together with a unified vision of what they want, and they are pushing for it with the mightiest of political force. For years now, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women have been pushing their own agendas, and they have succeeded on many counts. Those moderates I used to speak of, the ones with no voice, don’t have a voice because they are a huge, entirely fragmented group of people. If the moderates wanted a voice, wanted their agenda pushed as much as extremists, they would take action more forcefully.

But “moderate” is such a broad term, so how about specifics? Specifics are what matters. When someone from the far right or left yells and screams on TV, they are arguing for their own specific reform or change. They engage in the essence of democracy – action.

Everyone can wake up tomorrow, think of something specific that we want, or many things that we want and we can put things in action to see change happen. As much as I hate the way cutting political debates have divided our country, I am not disappointed anymore. Instead, I feel empowered. Just as people are free to express themselves with art, music and education, I have realized that everyone should feel free to enter political debates.

Everyone can pick an issue, or pick an entire platter of them, and find ways to push them with the force they believe necessary. Maybe if people push hard enough, they’ll be on TV with the other talking heads. In the end, when change takes place for the better, people will know what I know about the importance of participation in politics. As fanatical as the nut jobs on TV may be, they know how to take the essential action of democracy to the highest level. It may not be pretty, and it may not seem fair at times, but it is a beautiful thing because action is what democracy is all about.

Sen can be reached at jsen@campustimes.org.



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