Standing for Moderation and Tolerance

by Frank Tiedemann on January 10, 2011

Reprinted from my March 25, 2010 post:

We have just witnessed the House passage of the Healthcare Reform Bill.  It was not a pretty sight regardless of the way you feel about the issues large and small related to healthcare in our country.

What I am reflecting on today is the unraveling of public discourse that has taken place.  Forget about the false hope of non-partisan debate over fundamental issues in healthcare.  Where was the reasonable center?  Not to be found–certainly not to be heard above the strident voices of fear and self-interest.

We are not a shy or quiet people when we think our interests have been violated.  And our history is full of extreme and immoderate public assertions of self-interest.  So this is no recent development in public discourse.  But it has gone too far for me.

I am concerned that we can’t seem to discuss our differences and self-interest without resorting to personal attacks on opponents and their supporters.  Ad homium arguments do not help resolve issues, they only justify escalating verbal reprisals.  What is needed is a strong center to balance the extremes. Moderation is an honorable response to extremism.  But it takes a strong commitment to tolerance.

Moderation is forgoing extremes in what one believes and does. Tolerance is the willingness to accept others’ right to hold divergent views and live a different lifestyle from the one you prefer for yourself. Tolerance is not for wimps.  It takes personal commitment and courage to accept and advocate for the right to believe and act differently.  Thats why the founders embedded it in various ways into the Bill of Rights.

We need to remind ourselves that our government and our society are based on the tolerance for ideas and practices that are protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  And sometimes, like now, we need to remind our neighbors and yes our leaders that public debate should be civil and committed to resolving issues, not just to preparing their supporters for the next un-civil war of words.

Moderation and tolerance are values of the moral center.  We should honor them and live by them.

How do you feel?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

student grants January 24, 2011 at 5:27 am

Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

Kyle Kiesov January 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm

The youtube link was very well put together! Very Interesting article

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