It’s difficult to uphold the rights, values, desires, and hopes of one group without seeming to undervalue the same attributes of other groups, especially if those groups have traditionally held each other in opposition. No example should be more apropos than the public conversation surrounding the Trump administration, on both sides, that it is difficult to separate the rhetoric of populism from the simple cultivation of animosity. “You are valued and important,” and “you are better than your enemies” are two different, yet apparently inseparable, notions in political conversation. And not just political conversation; they appeal to to man’s most basic sin, pride.
Centrists are stuck, it seems, with the blandest rhetoric imaginable. Great rhetoric, like any other great art, is defined by stark contrasts, alternating gentle and martial timbres, deep shade and bright glory, and the eternal conflict of good and evil. By writing about how “the other side is not so bad as you might think,” you may not stir up much trouble, but you run the danger of not stirring up much at all. You risk becoming the Haydn quartets of political discourse; not worth hating, not worth listening to.
Centrism must come from a place of non-centrism, a place of strong beliefs and stark contrasts between right and wrong, and only become centrist with respect to some particular conversation, as it were, accidentally.