So I told my doctor I can’t sleep at night. And my doctor says, “Why not?”
And I said, “It’s those damn lefty political magazines. I read them every night on the crapper just before I go to bed. I read about how the evil guys are screwing us all over, and I get all worked up and I can’t fall asleep.”
So my doc says, “Well then don’t read those lefty political magazines.” He told me I had to go cold turkey. Don’t agitate the brain right before bed. Shut it down completely. So he gave me a prescription for glamour magazines.
But a few days later I went back to my doc and I said, “I still can’t sleep at night. When I read the lefty political magazines, I go to bed all worked up knowing how the evil guys are screwing us over. But when I read the glamour magazines, I go to bed all worked up wondering how the evil guys are screwing us over behind my back. Ignorance is bliss until you get blindsided.”
So my doc said since cold turkey didn’t work, there was only one course of action left to pursue: political moderation.
Those were the words I most dreaded hearing coming from my doctor’s lips. If there’s one thing that agitates me worse than the evil guys screwing us over, it’s the tepid moderates. They will fight oppression by any means allowable within the rules of proper polite political discourse. A moderate witnessing a street mugging will immediately intervene and attempt to negotiate a compromise. “Let’s see now the muggee has $100 so how about if you, Mr. Mugger, keep $75 and donate $25 to the charity of the muggee’s choice? And in return the muggee will sign a waiver releasing you from all further responsibility.”
I said to my doc, ”If I become a moderate, what political magazines can I read?”
My doc pondered that question and then he said, “You can listen to NPR.”
The prospect of becoming a moderate was so depressing I still couldn’t sleep at night. After all, I thought, there are no great tales in the history books of the brave deeds of bold moderates. But I was surprised and encouraged to learn how much moderates have helped shape human history. For example, I did not know that czarist Russia in the 16th century had a moderate ruler named Peter the Mediocre.
And I found a new political kinship among active and committed moderates who are evangelists for the gospel of pragmatism. They’ve formed an organization called Passionate Moderates of America. Their motto is, “Justice for All, Incrementally!” They even have a youth wing called the Young Moderistas.
I was really inspired when I attended their signature event, their annual Picnic Against Injustice. Passionate moderates from around the world express their displeasure with the brutal inequities inherent in modern society by gathering in a meadow and bringing potluck dishes. This is where they reaffirm their commitment to take action.
The festivities began with a prayer. The minister said, “We thank you for this bounty, Oh Father, or Mother, or perhaps even gender-neutral entity that could also be merely a metaphorical concept used to provide a framework for morality. We pray that when we moderates confront those who wallow in greed and profit from human misery you will give us the strength to tell them firmly that we agree to disagree.”
And then, one by one, the leaders of the moderate movement climbed up on the soapbox and invigorated the base. “First and foremost, we believe in tolerance,” said one. “Never forget that there are people in the world who are poor, who are sick, who are disabled. It is our job to tolerate them.”
And another leader said, “We must never be afraid to speak out, in moderation! Let us stand in solidarity with ALL who struggle, as long it doesn’t jeopardize our jobs, our 401(k)s or our prospects for tenure!”
“Amen!” I shouted. I couldn’t help myself. I was intoxicated with moderation!
And now I sleep much better because I don’t get outraged anymore. I only get outraged-ish.