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With the nation seemingly so divided between left-wing loons and  right-wing whackos, it’s hard out here for a moderate.

Moderates don’t fit neatly into the categories the media, especially broadcast media, quickly ascribe to every idea, plan, proposal, statement, movement, or rally that reporters and talking-head celebrity anchor/performers consider worthy of coverage. What moderates believe doesn’t always fit neatly into those 9-second sound bites or catchy bumper-sticker slogans that are guaranteed to elicit applause but seldom engage electrical activity in regions above the neck.

That was brought home yet again earlier this week when CNN’s John King said the protest on New York streets in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement was the “liberal equivalent of the tea party.”

Really? One has to be labeled a liberal to be disgusted at the financial destruction Wall Street inflicted upon the nation? Only liberals are appalled that Congress promptly bailed out the financial elites so they wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of their own greed, corruption and fraud? Seems to me anger and frustration at Wall Street should be as American as apple pie. Seems to me the protest is about three years late.

There’s not been much reporting on those who have sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement. Perhaps they’re just some of the millions of out-of-work Americans fed up with reading about soaring corporate profits and mega corporations holding billions in cash overseas waiting for Congress to enact a “tax holiday” so the cash won’t be called income, just some temporary technical transfer from their one-person world headquarters in Iceland or Sweden or wherever they’ve put down a headquarters footprint designed to scam the system, a legal swindle Congress created expressly for their benefit.

Moderates don’t agree with the maxim that “government is the problem, not the solution,” because they know government is both, at different times, in different arenas. Moderates know that not every recipient of public aid is honest and truly qualifies for the aid, but not every aid recipient is a lazy bum that refuses to work and is merrily defrauding taxpayers. The creation of our social safety net programs decades ago was the right thing to do, but have those programs grown beyond meeting basic needs and are sometimes unfairly extended to those who’ve neither earned nor need them? You betcha.

There’s fraud in aid programs, just like there’s fraud in Wall Street, corporate America, nonprofits, private military contractors, the vast and lucrative housing industry, and last, but certainly not least, Congress. Getting rid of fraud takes persistence, diligence and the political will to enforce the consequences of fraud on colleagues, friends, neighbors and those we may have held in high regard in the past. It’s certainly not easy.

Federal regulations aren’t by definition evil, unnecessary or “job-killing,” but some have indeed grown too complex and cumbersome to administer effectively, and are sometimes contradictory when new regulations are layered upon the old. Are we over regulated? Yes, but most Americans support regulations to prevent pollution of our air,  water and environment. Most Americans remember enough history to know why we need worker safety regulations, child protection laws, and laws against discrimination. But we want those regulations to be smart, effective, concise, and not over-reaching — one surefire way to create unintended consequences.

Most moderates believe the solutions to our nation’s mounting and overwhelming problems lie somewhere in the gray middle between the extremes that garner so much media attention. Perhaps supporting moderate leaders and candidates is out of favor, because it requires the listener to follow a train of thought that is longer than 147 characters in a tweet or a couple of exclamatory sentences in a Facebook status update.

Being a moderate is a tougher road to follow, because it requires listening to all sides and points of view, and considering the validity of arguments, facts and examples presented by those with whom we often disagree.

But that’s exactly what our nation needs at this time. Whether Congress is capable of it is highly questionable, unfortunately. They’re too busy selling out to special interests and extremists.

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