WHAT DOES BEING A "CENTRIST" MEAN TO YOU, AND WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED?
Being a centrist to me means that you are willing to keep an open mind, are solution oriented above all else, and diplomatic (ie willing to work with everyone to find solutions to problems). I have been registered as "no party affiliation" since 2003. I am a firm believer that America is a bell curve, and that as a result over 2/3rds of the population are very near to the middle of the spectrum and basically all want the same thing....for our elected officials to go to work and do their jobs, and WORK TOGETHER to fix things once and for all instead of talking past each other and letting problems fester and get bigger (and costlier). Compromise is not a dirty word, it was our founding principle as a nation, and the truth usually is somewhere in the middle.
WHAT IS A POLICY ISSUE YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHY?
I am most passionate about the national debt and budget deficit. It isn't sexy to talk about, but it is the single biggest true issue that government is tasked with handling and we have mismanaged it for decades. Did you know that the last President to leave office with a smaller national debt in terms of actual dollars than when he entered office was Calvin Coolidge?? Every POTUS since has allowed the national debt to increase on their watch, some at faster rates than others. I truly believe we need to have a conversation as a nation about "paying our bills". No one, not even me, wants to pay taxes....but as Justice Holmes once famously said "taxes are the price of a civilized society". If we want all of these things we ask our government to do, then we have to be willing to pay for them in full, and if we aren't, then we have to be willing to let some things get cut, including the military. And we have to ensure that we stick to a graduated income tax system. Flat tax rates are regressive. It is every citizen's patriotic duty to pay their fair share of taxes, and if some people are richer than others, for whatever reason, then it is their patriotic duty to pay a little more, so that the less fortunate do not have to pay as much. I do not believe however that anyone should ever have to pay more than 50% of their total income in taxes, even the 1% super rich.
HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN UNITE OUR COUNTRY AND FIX POLITICS?
Can we solve world hunger first? Haha. First, we need to get every elected office re-districted on a non-partisan basis, so that all elections are competitive. Competitive elections naturally move candidates more towards the center of the spectrum to appeal to as many voters as possible. This gerrymandering that the state legislatures have been doing for years to benefit their majority parties is Un-American and Un-Democratic. Personally I would love to see all parties done away with, especially as it was NOT what our Founders wanted. Washington specifically warned of political parties in his farewell address. But being a realist, once something is created it is very hard to get rid of it, especially after it has had 200+ years to entrench itself in society. I think that our effort to get Centrists elected is exactly what we need. We need to be the adults in the middle of the conversation. Just like how we have checks and balances with 3 branches of government, a 2 party system by its very nature is adversarial and prone to reactive decision making (ie not dealing with problems until it is almost too late and the available solutions are far more costly). If we can get enough Centrists elected and build some momentum, I think we have a real chance to start to reverse this polarization process that has been getting worse not better over the last 200 years. I would encourage my fellow centrists to not lose heart. It is an unfortunate fact of human existence that new ideas are usually met with hostility and/or apathy, even by those who complain about the very problems one is trying to solve. We must have the courage and will to persevere and push on, especially when things look bleakest. To quote President Kennedy "we choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard". "And never doubt that a small thoughtful group of dedicated citizens can change the world....indeed it is the only thing that ever has"--Margaret Mead