Article Truths about the middle
by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126 including the counties of
Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
"It seems safe to say that significant discovery, really creative thinking, does not occur with regard to problems about which the thinker is lukewarm." --Mary Henle, Gestalt psychologist and historian of psychology (1913-2007)
I am sure we will be talking about the 2010 election for decades, but one phenomenon being misunderstood is the diminishing of "the middle" in both major parties. The electorate began to pay attention when they saw freedom - the core of American exceptionalism - being replaced by the failed model of czarism. This quickened attentiveness, inspired thought, and provoked citizen-action (not something big-government liberals welcome).
The 2010 election was not so much about party or even policy as it was about character. The voter was looking for someone he/she could trust, someone who would tell them the truth about Washington, D.C. and about America. The Tea Party embodied that sentiment, and career politicians were its antithesis. American voters questioned the country's direction, and determined to do something about it; this may have been the first election the bulk of average Americans have taken seriously in decades.
There will be a different look to Congress and to the Missouri legislature in 2011. Candidates who won may be working for meaningful reform as their top priority instead looking first to their next position, election, or fundraiser. However, the statesman must be willing to swim upstream because the indoctrination of "majority" will have already begun both in Jeff City and in DC. They may be told that their priorities are first to win re-election in 2012, second to get other party members elected to ensure the majority, and finally, in the process appease their constituency. Newest members will be addressed as "Honorable" and be treated by special interests as kings and queens - intoxicating.
The good news is that more real people are paying attention, so the next election may become even more significant than 2010 because the next election will prove if voters were just angry or were actually awakened. Will we monitor those we elected, encourage their statesmanship, and be willing to vote them out if we discover we were wrong about their character and that they do not deserve out trust. Primary elections may again become instruments of reform if voters take their responsibility seriously. We can never again forget or neglect that in America we get the government we choose (elect).
I reject the notion that "moderates" lost because people weren't thinking. Moderates lost because voters woke up to the truth that lukewarm does not protect personal liberties; it compromises them. Lukewarm protects the status quo, not constituents and the Constitution. Even the Bible confirms that lukewarm is nauseating. Notice that successful candidates are more reflective of party platforms after the 2010 election. The democrats are more liberal and the republicans more conservative because that is what the platforms say and the voters chose. Losing the middle is not the tragedy the news media claims, on the contrary it signals that voters largely rejected compromise-above-character or politics-above-principle. Voters want to trust their elected officials not serve them.