Well, I shouldn’t say that. It’s probably more correct to say that a few people read this blog. I read it, my wife reads it. My friends read it when they have time, and there’s a handful of WordPress followers that read mine, because I read theirs.
Thank you for that.
When I started this blog in February, I didn’t have a plan. I saw what was happening in politics, and it compelled me to start writing again. There’s no growth outlook or marketing strategy. The PostModerate has a logo because I got bored for an hour on a Tuesday.
So, why am I here? Why bother?
In my third semester of college, I took an online class called American Frontier. We studied American mythology. The noble Indian in his state of nature. The rugged individual that strikes out into the unknown and tames the wilderness. The lone cowboy and his gun taking on injustice and challenges to his freedom. I’m reminded of these myths whenever I see John McClain or Jason Bourne.
Another important lesson I learned in that course is how pointless popularity is to history. Understanding mythology is about understanding its creator, not its audience. The stories people tell about themselves tell you about them. Who they were, what they thought, how they reacted to the events around them.
Right now, the media is creating a myth. The myth of an angry America ignoring conventional wisdom and giving a firm middle finger to the establishment. On the Internet, the same myth is being perpetuated by obnoxious voices bent on being heard. They’re angry at pretty much everything, and social media has given them a permanent influence over the historical record. Their heroes are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, archetypes of a new age in politics. It’s a fascinating story, but it’s not the whole story.
The other story is less interesting. It’s about a more moderate America, calm and demure. We see the challenges ahead, not through the prism of anger and blame, but through binoculars of optimism. Standing outside the polarized battles of right and left, we get lost in the middle. Our silence isn’t complacence, it’s an understanding of things as they are, and the shared validity in all points of view.
Nevertheless, we are silent. Almost absent from the historical record simply because those beating their chests have taken in all the air and swallowed us whole. Standing on the sidelines, we shake our heads and wonder what has happened to this country? When did our healthy skepticism bleed out and crust over into this harsh cynicism that only acknowledges the worst parts of life in America?
Will anyone speak up for us? Will we ever be heard?
So, I have to write this down. Future historians will need to know that the online rantings and media portrayals of 2016 left out the silent majority. They’ll need to know that another America existed beneath the anger. An America flush with rational citizens rejecting the popular pessimism of the moment in favor of positivity and hope.
Should the mob have its way, let us be the tragic victims of their rage. Or, let us be the heroes that put everything back together once the dust settles on this season of hate. Either way, our story needs to be told. The unpopular myth of a moderate America in the face of its most extreme elements. I am its creator, and this is the story I leave for history. It’s my counter-argument to the narrative.
No one reads this blog, and that’s okay. Because someday someone will, and they’ll know our side of the story.