Are Centrists Criticized by ‘Both Sides’?

In short – yes, we centrists are criticised by both the left and right, but that’s true for every segment of the political spectrum, and part of the nature of political discourse.

The unfortunate truth is, you can’t be involved in politics without facing criticism, as being involved requires advocating for your positions, and doing so means people who disagree with see it and respond with their views, and why they believe yours to be wrong. This is somewhat more pronounced for centrists, as the most organized and tribalized elements of our culture are both set against us, but it’s true for everyone.

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Theodore Roosevelt’s famous ‘Man in the Arena’ reflects the reality of political engagement. To accomplish almost anything of note in politics, you will find those dead set against you that will make reaching that goal as hard as they can, and to win you will have to fight. There are ways of fighting that do not stoop to the disgusting lows that many ideologues and hyper-partisan zealots stoop to, but it is a fight nonetheless.

Theodore Roosevelt's 'Man in the Arena' quote
Political engagement is, and always has been, difficult, hard work. It has to be done, and we can do it better than hyper-partisan and ideological zealots, but don’t fool yourself into thinking there is a way to accomplish anything politically without a fight.


Everyone Stands Between Others – Not Just Centrists

Criticism is part of the package deal you get when you wade into politics, regardless of whether you’re a centrist, or anywhere else on the political spectrum. Everyone also stands between others on that spectrum. You’re going to be criticised by people in your own area of the spectrum too, since just because you’re a centrist (or left, right, libertarian, etc), that doesn’t mean you agree with people in your segment on everything.

The goal in politics can’t be to avoid criticism or conflict – if you do that won’t accomplishing much. The goal is to engage honestly and forthrightly, pick your battles wisely, do your part and help those who are doing the same elsewhere and in other ways.

None of this is unique to centrists, even though some would pretend otherwise (every political tribe has positive and negative stereotypes, and lemme tell ya – most are complete bunk). A lot of unethical people are drawn to politics, power corrupts, tribalism effects us all and there is no shortage of dishonest centrists, as well as honest extremists and honest and dishonest people at every point along the political spectrum.

Each and every one of us has an individual impact on the American political landscape, the people we know, the communities we live in and the , and if we’re going to pull it back into the realm of sanity again, then we need people who are willing to fight without stooping to cable news style nonsense – left, right and center.

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While criticism isn’t realistically avoidable for those who are engaged politically, there are ways to do that without taking the low road. Nobody is perfect all of the time, when dealing with people who don’t converse honestly, but we need people who try in the trenches, doing their part in an ethical way. We need hundreds of thousands of centrists and moderates doing so all across the country, or we’re seriously in trouble as a country.