Moderates: Stuck in the middle with you.
I have said before that I am in independent, I vote by topic and issues rather than by party. I am learning more and more I am a moderate. If you follow my blog, you know that I was born and raised in Texas. My ideas and viewpoints, oh and I have a whole lot of those, would have deemed me a “crying liberal” in most cases in the south. My kids both have food allergies, so I tried to eat green and shopped in the big-name health-nut stores. I studied family laws and civil rights in college. I am an avid supporter for equality for all people. I loved advocating for the rights of special needs children, and while I am not an advocate anymore, I still love it when my friends need a good talk about their divorce cases. I have always had a passion for justice. It is just who I am. People are louder and more vocal than ever before about their political viewpoints with the rise of politics and memes on social media, and I am finding out that I am not at all “Liberal,” even though it has been a label I have carried with me for years now.
I have been having a rough week this week, so I was up late one night. I was in an interesting debate on Facebook. A while ago, I posted a thread about IIhan Omar and her questioning Elliot Abrams. The thread turned into a debate about “Ethics vs. Morals.” Later, I began to think more deeply about my argument in the thread, after reading another article regarding ethics and Michael Cohen, and again another article about Andrea Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi teaming up to get rid of moderates. I don’t remember the exact context of her quote, but the article basically outlined how moderates should be blocked and how we all needed to be team players. I am also reading a book called “The Conquest of Happiness,” by Bertrand Russell, which has a few good quotes in the first few chapters that are vaguely reminiscent of today’s politics. Later, after thinking about the exchange between Omar and Abrams, I was feeling blue about my moral standard. I try to be the best person I can be, and have always felt that I do my best to be a good person, but this debate made me take a closer look at my own morals, especially after reading a quote that implied I needed to choose a side, and that nothing mattered except whether or not I sided with greed or with compassion.
This brings me back to the debate about Ms. Omar questioning Mr. Abrams about a massacre from almost 30 years ago. My opinion about the questioning was that she should not have questioned him about that specific incident. He had been pardoned by George Bush, and he paid his debt to society for that crime already. I did not fully research the incident, but I didn’t get the feeling that he was one of the specific soldiers who participated in that massacre or that he raped a child, or that he had knowledge of these events. From the line of questioning from Ms. Omar, I took away that he “withheld information.” So, I assume, he found out about this event and did what he could to cover his behind. Do I think that is right and good? No way! The massacre is a horrendous crime and withholding information to prevent justice is also terrible. But is that AS terrible, as actually raping the child or participating in the incident itself? I don’t think so. The other side of the argument was that my morals were questionable for thinking her line of questioning was out of order.
The short clip began with her issuing an onslaught of insults leaving Mr. Abrams on the defense. I would like to add here, Mr. Abrams had already been tried for this crime and had already testified to his own involvement in this massacre. At the end of it, she questioned him about whether that massacre was a great achievement, and during the exchange, Abrams was quite offended and defensive, but answered the question no, and she clearly replied, “I’ll take that as a yes.” She clearly did not go into this to hear his answers, but to make assumptions and an example out of his past behavior. When he said “No” to the question about the massacre being a great achievement, she disregarded his answer completely. That should have been the end of it. Have you ever been in an argument with your significant other, and no matter what you say, they are just out for blood? Say it’s the end of a bad relationship, and you have answered that you were at the store, and your partner doesn’t believe you despite the proof you have already given, that you were clearly at the store. Or, what about that bitter old man, still complaining about his wife that divorced him, and he still goes on and on about it, 20 years ago, about how wrong she was, and how she did that to him? This is how it plays out in my head.
Here is what the President George H.W. Bush said about Abrams Pardon and participation in the matter:
“I have also decided to pardon five other individuals for their conduct related to the Iran-Contra affair: Elliott Abrams, Duane Clarridge, Alan Fiers, Clair George, and Robert McFarlane. First, the common denominator of their motivation — whether their actions were right or wrong — was patriotism. Second, they did not profit or seek to profit from their conduct. Third, each has a record of long and distinguished service to this country. And finally, all five have already paid a price — in depleted savings, lost careers, anguished families — grossly disproportionate to any misdeeds or errors of judgment they may have committed.
The prosecutions of the individuals I am pardoning represent what I believe is a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences. These differences should be addressed in the political arena, without the Damocles sword of criminality hanging over the heads of some of the combatants. The proper target is the President, not his subordinates; the proper forum is the voting booth, not the courtroom.”
Picture you work in a large call center. There is the corporate guy at the top working hard for his employees, then there are the HR Offices, On the floor there are the supervisors and line managers for the different departments, and then there are the employees who do the footwork taking payments and customer service calls. Let’s say they are taking utility bill payments. There is a group of about 15 employees who have stolen people’s credit card numbers and embezzled thousands of dollars with the stolen credit card information. The company has been sued and paid their debts to the persons with damages. Did the CEO do anything wrong really? Did the company? No, these few people did something very wrong and the people were damaged. Because of this mistake quite a few people were held accountable for the breech. Which one of those administrative people are wrong? Was the CEO wrong? Had he retributed his crimes? Yes. Now, go back to Ms. Omar and her questioning, considering the above statement? This is what I feel the president was referring to. There was probably little involvement in this massacre from the top, but people need to be held accountable, and well, this guy ended up at the list, even though it really had nothing to do with him. *Waits for conspiracy theorists to tell me how wrong I am here*
Now, I can see that many of you are thinking I am siding with Abrams over a massacre, but this is what makes me a moderate. I do not think Elliot Abrams should be held accountable twice for his crimes or involvement in it. And now, going back to ethics vs. morals. Which side is right, and which is wrong? Is it not right to show mercy? Is it wrong to hold a person accountable for their crimes for the rest of their lives, even after they have paid their debt to society? Do I think Abrams should be in office? No. But he is and paid his debt to society. Do I think she is right to question him? Yea. But I do not think he should have been put on trial for crimes that had already been answered for and pardoned, and for good reason, as stated in the snippet from the Presidents speech regarding the pardons. I’d also like to add that recently a bill was passed to have background checks done on congress and house members.
Now, I don’t think we should treat politics like we do relationships, or like we do corporate CEO’s, but trying to find the right answer here, is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But I know being moderate in cases like this can help us move forward as one, rather than further dividing the parties and country. Not everything is as clear cut as black and white, good and bad, rich and poor, and this is where moderates come in, and where reason should reside. It is this type of behavior and thinking that has divided our country and our politics, and I’d like to see us all come together to support what is important. Democracy.