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Being a Moderate in a World of Extremes

by Leslie Dow

I’m a moderate. Sometimes I swing to the right and sometimes to the left. Or a better way to see this is that sometimes the Democrats swing to the left of me and sometimes the Republicans swing to the right. Sometimes, and this has become usually in the past couple of years, its far-far-far left, and far-far-far right. But me? I stay right here in the middle.

I think that both parties need a wake-up call. Moderates are a significant minority in this country;  according to Gallup (2017)  we represent 34%.   Any success in the next set of elections is going to hinge, in part, on attracting and keeping moderates, like me. And I think both parties are doing a fairly bad job at this. The Conservatives won’t even talk and the Progressives can be a bit condescending. However, most of my positions align with at least some part of the Progressive agenda so I keep talking. 

Frankly, I’m getting tired of explaining (justifying) my positions to Progressives and then being told that I am an “-ist” (insert any you would like) for a particular view that does not completely align.  I have both liberal views and conservative ones. That is what defines a moderate; we sit in the middle. 

I see the value in a free market but want protections for health and safety. I think that federal agencies like the EPA have overreached and trampled landowners’ rights, but am grateful for the environmental protections that have given us clean water and air. I believe that capitalism is the best economic system humans have ever devised, but am shocked by some of the liberties taken by large corporations. I think we need strong borders and fair immigration laws that do not allow anyone to circumvent the system but can readily see the contributions that undocumented immigrants have made to our country.  I am not convinced that anyone has a need for “safe spaces” in a free society and think the concept of trigger words is both demeaning and silly, but I believe everyone deserves basic respect and I act accordingly. 

I am a moderate and active in Indivisible, running the AZ8 Twitter and Facebook pages. I am a moderate and have worked to support Planned Parenthood since I was a teen. I am a greeter every Sunday at the Glendale Planned Parenthood Clinic. I am a moderate and will fight tirelessly to protect the civil rights of all Americans. I am a moderate and marched with my son in the Women’s March in DC this past January. I was saddened by the divisiveness introduced by the organizers but felt that the statement was well worth making, and I am glad that I did. I am a moderate and make calls to McCain praising him for actions I agree with and respectfully suggesting he reconsider actions I do not. I am a moderate and have never found anything Flake or Franks has proposed that I agree with, so those calls are different.  I am a moderate and think the hard right and left have swung so hard in their respective directions that they have become intransigent on many issues. I am a moderate and so I listen to both sides when they can discuss issues in non-combative situations. In many cases, both have real issues worthy of consideration.

I challenge each of you progressives to find a moderate and discuss the issues. Calmly and rationally. Then find a recording of a conservative talking to a receptive audience and listen to the problems they see in our country. There are many, many issues where moderates and progressives can work together. There are even issues where Progressives and Conservatives and work together. Let’s focus on those and respect the differences.


  1. April 2, 2017 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    What she said!

  2. April 8, 2017 at 10:12 am — Reply

    Dear Leslie,

    Thank you for speaking up for us moderates. We are loosing our voice and our country because of the rise of extremism. I would like to follow your articles.
    Candice Eisenfeld

  3. Camille Swanson
    April 14, 2017 at 11:35 am — Reply

    Spot on! Thank you for vocalizing what so many of us in the moderate “minority” also think.

  4. Ted Solis
    May 10, 2017 at 9:47 am — Reply

    I commend this commentary. I tend toward the more liberal side, but find myself able to at least understand many conservative issues. Condescending will get us self-righteous liberals nowhere; counterproductive. As Prof. Katherine Hayhoe of Texas Tech says: you may not agree with people about the “why” of climate change, but most of can agree on the problems, and we should work together from that position.

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