Really, it was just another one of those stupid Internet quizzes.
While sipping my morning coffee and going over the backlog on my Twitter feed I came across a tweet to a quiz entitled "what kind of Republican are you?" Given my recent break-up with the libertarian identity, I'd been kind of lacking for a self-label so I thought it might be good for a yuk or two and maybe some personal insight.
Well, one thing I didn't count on was how -- how to put this -- bossy the quiz was. Literally, I had to log into Twitter and give it access before it would even let me know my results. In effect, I had to tell the world (or the 50-odd people that follow me for some reason) my results even before I could find them out myself.
Against my better judgment I said okay (at least I was able to get around the default option of random direct-messaging followers), and that was when I found out that I had declared to the world that I was a "moderate" Republican.
Fortunately I did not have a mouthful of coffee as I read about how I was probably a very proud McCain supporter and all the rest. Feeling practically as if my very manhood had been disparaged, I hastily entered a couple of CYA tweets and banished the quiz site from my follow list in double-time.
But then I got to thinking. Should I really have been so offended by this result?
One thing I know about myself, it's that my online persona is very much hyped-up from the way I am in real life. Maybe it's just a factor of comfort levels, but I am not at all a confrontational person face-to-face. Just the other day -- in church of all places! -- a man sitting next to me (whom I actually know quite well) was saying that he hoped Duke beat Baylor in the NCAA tournament later that day, simply because he was angry (yes, actually angry) that Baylor would dare hire a scalawag such as Kenneth Starr -- the man who dared to go after the greatest statesman this country has ever seen, donchaknow -- as their president. My response to that naked display of gushing over our 42nd President? I silently mouthed "no comment" and got up to put on my choir robe.
Maybe it's a little weird how I can blog and comment away here at RedState.com yet given any reasonable excuse will quail away from any kind of face-to-face political discussion. Maybe that's just more a personality thing than anything else.
And then I got to thinking further. How much of an ideologue am I, really? I'm really not so sure. I can buy into, for example, the notion of the likes of Francis Cianfrocca, that TARP, while evil, may well have been a necessary evil for the moment in time. I often find myself unable to generate the passion about the issue of abortion that seems to be the norm in this country no matter which side of it you take. Heck, I even admitted on the quiz that there was a case for a certain level of environmental regulation, even as I truly believe what we have today on that score goes far beyond what is even useful much less needed (the quiz didn't ask THAT).
So maybe I need to come to grips with the notion that, underneath it all, maybe, just maybe, I *am* a moderate.
And then I thought further. If I am actually a moderate, then what does it say that in the past year I've had a fire lit under me to delve into the realm of political activism? That's not what moderates do, is it?
Maybe what's happened to me is a variation on Ronald Reagan's famous utterance as he switched parties. I haven't left the middle. The middle left me.
I've observed before, and heard no rebuttal to the claim, that there is no boundary on the left for what qualifies as a "moderate" Republican in the mainstream media these days. Karl Marx himself could come back to life and if he registered as a Republican he'd be called a "moderate".
So perhaps it isn't me who has changed. Maybe it's really the field that has changed. Somewhere along the way, the lines got redrawn and what was "moderate" just a few years ago now gets declared radical or fringe or whatever someone decides appropriate as an epithet.
Accordingly, I have fashioned a new label for myself. I am a "Radicalized Moderate". A man of little passion by nature and a very live-and-let-live attitude who through no apparent fault of his own finds even those modest stances declared too radical for the modern "mainstream" in this country. I represent the vastly underestimated number of people who have found themselves marginalized and alienated by the powers that be who think the "real" center in this country should be far, far further left than it has been in recent history.
And I am part of why the snapback to that trend is coming.
Or then again, maybe it's just a stupid Internet quiz.