Moderate Is A Dirty Word For A Critical, Free Thinker

Moderate Is A Dirty Word For A Critical, Free Thinker

Think. It's not illegal yet.


Politics uses covert language to define and redefine meanings to serve all intents and purposes, other than the ones for the people. Someone who is against all politics, in political terms, is most likely a radical or, more cutting, a verbal terrorist of free speech. While the politicians are demonizing each other, and the country of people they supposedly serve, there are individuals who stand at the center of the political lion's den: a moderate.

There is no right way to describe a moderate; even a label defeats the purpose of a moderate. Centrist, Middleman, Stuck-In-The-Middle-With-You, call them what you like, a moderate is more than just a name or party affiliation. Rather than cater to a one-track mindset, moderates are interested in certain aspects that are agreeable in certain respects. I like ice cream, but I don't like sprinkles on my ice cream. Similarly, I may like other toppings on my ice cream but I don't discount sprinkles altogether since I know someone may like sprinkles on their ice cream. So a moderate is indecisive?

Moderate is not an advocate of an everything-in-moderation mentality. Common sense tells everyone (that is the hope at least and the hope of a moderate) that not everything is good in moderation. Two-party systems all too often have stalemates and from these stalemates, a polished piece of coal disguised in a present gift-wrapped in signed and cosigned legislature is passed on to the people. Of course, the reason there are two differing think tanks is to welcome open debate, discussion, and decision, but the final thought is weighted with one part of the brain over the other. Two minds are not always better than one. So a moderate is a conservative liberal or a populist?

Pesky labels. What do you call someone who defies all labels? Feminist, proletariat, faceless? That's the problem with name-calling, anyone can throw mud on it and turn it into its unflattering toxic counterpart. Moderates, if you can call them that, do most of their thinking outside the box. Stepping outside ourselves is not strictly moderate in the sense that it is a political act. Moderate is saying, "there are two sides to every story" but thinking, "let's look at all sides of the box we are in."

Moderate is being a contrarian who doesn't call you every name in the book because that would just make him another name in the book. Moderate is a dirty word for critical, free thinker. Politicians don't want observant, self-aware minds, they want obedient workers who are just smart enough to do the paperwork or heavy-lifting day-in and day-out and not realize how much their being underpaid and underappreciated.

Soapboxes are for soap, a moderate does not seek unnecessary fame or attention. The goal of a moderate or a discerning individual is to inform and to teach what is more than favorable. They want what is necessary but fair to be done. That's not to say "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it," this is to say "we're building bridges now." Being on the fence can get uncomfortable, but it's where between knows what it means. Finding and using the center is not just for yourself, it's also for the people around the center. Being different is what makes us the same, it's what makes us human.

Don't let politics put you in a box and if they do, poke some holes and carve out a window or better yet a door. Remember to be you, be open, be wise with your and other knowledge. Always be thinking, questioning, helping. It's a dangerous thing not to care or believe, so make sure to discern as you learn.

Cover Image Credit:

Jose Moreno

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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