It’s hard to avoid politics in today’s world. It’s even harder to avoid people’s opinion on politics. But, while that might not necessarily be a bad thing, it does make it hard to have level-headed discussions – especially when your political views fall smack-bang in the centre.
That’s a common problem I come up against. You see, I have neither liberal nor conservative political views. I have what some call ‘centrist’ views.
As our international society continues to become more divided, and as more divisive political figures rise to power, people with central political views are becoming the thorn in the side of
Well, we’re just regular people who don’t fit in either side of the political spectrum, but we still want to make the world a better place.
“Hello, I’m a Political Centrist”
When it inevitably comes up in conversation that I’m almost perfectly in the centre when it comes to politics, I get hit back with a lashing of automatic criticism. Especially given that I am a millennial, where ‘not picking a side’ is almost as bad as picking the ‘wrong’ side.
As a millennial ‘not picking a side’ is almost as bad as picking the ‘wrong’ side.
I’m never vocal about my political stance because I fear the backlash. And, I’m an easy target because I can see the reasoning behind everyone’s arguments (and I enjoy engaging in political discussions far too much).
Basically, my whole ideology boils down to the fact that I’m neither left-leaning nor right-leaning. I’m in the centre (simple, huh?).
Being in the centre means my beliefs sway from situation to situation, and from policy to policy, and that seems to offend people from all political walks of life.
For me, personally, being in the centre looks like this: economically I lean toward the right, and socially, I lean toward the left. I believe in free will (to an extent), but I also believe in the value of social order. I’m always up for talking about issues, and I’m actually happy to have my mind changed by a good argument. I love a good discussion.
But, when my secret ‘centrist’ identity inevitably becomes clear, I’m almost always hit with the same criticisms. I’m a ‘fence-sitter’, ‘uninformed’, ‘disinterested’… Etc. Etc. Etc.
It’s almost as if being in the centre is worse than being completely opposed to a belief. Like we’re traitors because we only ‘half’ believe in what someone else may fully believe in.
Seriously, whenever I take a political compass test, I always end up in the centre. I’m in the centre on the ‘left-right’ axis, and in the centre of the ‘libertarian-authoritarian’ axis.
So, to anyone reading this who thinks those things, I hear you. Here are my responses to the biggest myths about being a political centrist.
Myth 1: I’m afraid to pick a side.
Incorrect. Plain and simple. I do pick sides, it’s just the sides that I pick are going to vary from issue to issue. Some of the sides that I pick are going to be more left-leaning, sometimes they’re going to be more right-leaning.
I have my own internal value system, and I refuse to ‘pick a side’ just to have my beliefs or values dictated to me by a single political party or ideology.
Myth 2: I just want to sit on the fence so I don’t upset anyone (AKA the ‘people pleaser’).
Nope. I’m not afraid of upsetting people by being a political centrist. I’m sure my mum can vouch for this based on the numerous ‘debates’ we’ve had about climate change, sexism and economic policy.
It’s just that no political ideology fully represents my views and my opinions. I’m sure my economic views probably would upset some people, just as I’m sure my social views would.
So, if anything, being in the centre is the opposite of being a ‘people pleaser’ – because I’m upsetting people from all sides of the political spectrum.
Myth 3: I’m not smart or informed enough to have an opinion.
This is a common one that I’m up against. I get it, you think that I don’t have an opinion because I don’t know what I’m talking about. But, you’re wrong.
I stay informed on political issues, I just generally believe that the best outcome is a tangible, pragmatic solution (AKA, the solution in the centre) – and normally, the best way to get this is by politicians on both sides working together. That belief doesn’t mean I’m uninformed, it just means that I want to approach things with a level head.
Plus, this is just generally a pretty mean thing to think about someone who has different political views.
Myth 4: I’m just an idealist who doesn’t understand the ‘real world’.
Okay, this one might have some truth to it. Maybe I am just a naïve millennial who wants the best of all worlds.
I want a world where economic policy and social policy can live in harmony together. I want a world where you don’t have to stop working toward an economic surplus in order to help fund social welfare. A world where schools get their funding, while businesses still operate in an economy that allows them to thrive.
If that means this myth has some truth to it, so be it. I am an idealist, but I’m also a pragmatist (more on how that’s possible here).
But I’m not a political strategist, so don’t ask me how we can get to this utopian paradise I’m describing.
What Do Political Centrists Want?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I want: bi-partisanship.
I want to live in a country that is run by a functional government that doesn’t just throw out the ideas of the opposition simply because they’re the opposition.
I want collaboration between left-wing parties and right-wing parties, to create the best, most practical outcomes for us as a nation.
Governments should be doing, instead of just talking.
The other thing that is key to who I am as a centrist is
This is at the core of who I am as a person – politically, socially, and personally – I want to know why you feel the way you do, and I hope that you can offer me the same respect.
Just know this: I do have political opinions, those opinions just aren’t tied to a particular political ideology. Basically, I just want the best solutions for society; fiscally and socially.
The key word is solutions, though. I’ve had enough of the current farce that is “let’s just yell louder than the opposition because if we’re the loudest and most sensationalist we must be right.”.
Governments should be doing, instead of just talking. Political ideologies aside, surely that’s something we can all agree upon.
I think the first step we can take toward my utopian paradise is pretty simple: let’s just respect each other, and the rest will follow.
But hey, that’s just my point of view. My centrist point of view
Also, if you’ve got some time, I would recommend you take a political compass test. It’ll give you more of an idea of your own beliefs and how you fit into the political sphere. Here’s one if you want to give it a go
Read more about who I am here.