I applaud your decision to publish your October 25, 2012 feature, “Elephants in the Room” as it captures one disturbing underlying trend in America – the increasing homogenization of political discourse and ideological purity of both the left and the right. This trend has not only manifested itself in the form of the Tea Party, but as you so aptly report it has also occurred on this campus and local politics. It has squeezed the center into endangerment (note: I’m an unaffiliated voter, but hold center-left views). Centrist politicians in Washington have been losing primaries or have quit because of our ideological intransigence on both sides of the aisle. The right has raised a valuable debate about the size of government (especially on a federal level) and the left has, in turn, raised a valuable debate about equality of opportunity.
In your article, Noah Mishka doesn’t believe that “‘…the middle is inherently the right position to take,'” and that political balance might not be valuable for the school. He is correct, but with both sides of the political spectrum marching towards extremes, the shrinking center seems to be a very sensible position right now. We can’t afford draconian cuts to the size of the state (such as Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has proposed in his budget plan) and the math behind tax increases for the wealthiest Americans falls short of promises to restore financial sustainability (i.e. Obama’s proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy).
With the UCSC Republicans putting up posters about, “joining the dark side”, it shows how much they have been ostracized from the political discourse on this campus and this city. Ad hominem attacks (which this newspaper has flirted with in the past in its editorial and opinion pieces) and heckler’s vetoes from the student body have not helped matters.
A critical eye not only needs to be cast upon that other guy’s beliefs, but your own. Isn’t that one purpose of university? This applies to everyone – right, left, center, students, faculty, Santa Cruz locals, and Americans.