We have all no doubt heard of “The Silent Majority” and “The Moral Majority,” but I would like to posit “The Quiet Majority.”
The two previous “majorities”–both Silent and Moral–were a way of defining a fundamental shift toward conservatism marked by anti-communism, religiosity, and what were once known as “family values” before Republicans with multiple wives started to run for President. The Quiet Majority, in contrast, is not tied to these arcane formulations–or any others, for that matter.
The Quiet Majority is based on basic freedoms–of speech, religion, sexual orientation–and the right to a level playing field that is unalterably American. The Quiet Majority believes in a strong defense built on morality, one that resists the chest bumps of unilateralism and neoconservatism. The same morality resists earmarks and the corporate dominance of government at all levels.
Personal freedoms, a measured foreign policy, alternative energy, and the rejection of the corporate gene are all powerful components of this new majority. But those are just ducks on the pond. Above all, The Quiet Majority lives in the center of the political debate and likes to pick and choose.
Here’s what I mean. The vast majority of voters look at problems in pragmatic, nuanced fashion belied by the partisanship of political debate in the year 2008. Most people are not card-carrying liberals or free-range conservatives but free-thinkers who think there are things to love and to hate about both parties. They know government is too big–and spending way too much–and they want to do something about it.
I look at my own political evolution as moving more and more toward the pragmatic center of The Quiet Majority. The first manifestation was when, years ago now, I suggested in a newspaper column that the United States should put up a fence if it wanted to fix the immigration problem. At the time, and even now, liberals are not supposed to believe in border fences–but I did and I do.
The same thing with abortion, the most difficult issue of all for liberals. After speaking with students at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs it dawned on me that adoption was a far more viable option than I had known before. But liberals are not supposed to talk about adoption in any way, shape, or form, for fear that it would interfere with “a woman’s right to choose.”
Nuclear energy is another good example. I have come to believe over time that we need to take a much closer look at the technology and figure out a way to deal with nuclear waste, the major sticking point from my perspective. This is a liberal talking: just because I’m a liberal doesn’t mean I have to march lockstep with those who won’t even discuss nuclear power.
In cherry-picking my views on all these issues, I believe I’m no different that most of us in The Quiet Majority. We may lean left or right, but at the end of the day we live in the middle, looking at the problems of America one by one, without any adherence to single, limiting political philosophy. Tell the truth, I can’t think of any other way to think about politics in the 21st Century.