What seems like a lifetime ago my paternal grandfather had a terrific hearing problem. It was always kind of rough going to visit Grandpa because when Grandma left the house for any reason I would be stuck sitting on the couch in heavily paneled tiny family room, while Grandpa rocked back and forth in his rocking chair, smoking his pipe filling the room with the aroma of cherry vanilla tobacco, while watching a golf tournament on an old Magnavox.
If anyone wonders if he turned up the volume, let me make this clear. It was golf! It was back then as it has been explained to me many times a quiet sport of concentration where even the announcers barely spoke above a whisper. If Grandpa only knew my friends and their version of golf he might have gotten a hearing aid sooner.
Basically, it was perfect for him. He couldn’t hear and he didn’t need to. Same held true with just about any sport he enjoyed viewing. He could see the action, smile at the good stuff and frown at the bad. His eye were as blue as the sky and his sight was strong enough were he could see the score from across the room. However, sitting there with him on the old avocado green sleeper sofa on a rainy Saturday made me wish I was old enough to attend the Ladies Rosary Auxiliary, purely because he didn’t have much to say. This would make for a very long Saturday afternoon.
Once he sensed boredom on my part he would immediately come up with a plan. Thus I would become the recipient of a 1000 piece wilderness puzzle to work on until Grandma returned. If I wanted his attention while working on the multicolored billion pieces of landscape all I had to do was start in the middle. Grandpa was an expert on puzzles and by not following the puzzle plan of attack would cause him to quietly come to my aid.
In a kindly gentle fashion he would reach for his reading glasses and silently stand over me and guide my petite hands, with his enormous ones to build the outer boarder of the puzzle. In his aged voice which was soft and muffled he would say “Bethy, you start from the outside and work your way towards the center.
There isn’t any question in the grand political picture where the boundaries are. There lie on the exterior are the conservatives and the liberals. All will vote accordingly. Even with all the arguing that has run rampant inside the GOP over which candidate should be chosen. By November 6, all of the GOP will vote for the chosen Republican Candidate.
There has been a lot of talking/shouting by both sides, but what if there is a silent majority not being heard from? Just like putting together a puzzle on a rainy day establishing the framework of the scenery leaves the middle wide open and empty, while waiting to be engaged by joining in the fusing of similar pieces.
Moderates and Independents hold the majority of votes across the country. They are hard working blue collars and entry level to middle management white collars who have never registered for a political party. They are also inundated with campaign phone calls they hang up on, main stream media sound bites that cause them to change the channel and watch reruns on TVland and are left with contempt for all things political.
Those who rest in the middle have a pain point. What that is may not be so clear. It is clear the left believes they have those votes. But do they? What actions are being taken to debunk the stereotypes of conservatives being spread over many social media outlets by the left?
How many conservatives are talking between themselves and or debating, arguing with the liberals? It simply is not enough.
Once when I was living in the moderate state of mind I was only concerned with how much money it was going to cost to keep gas in my car, the lights on in my home and what school district offered my children the best hope of a strong education. I wasn’t familiar with the debt clock, revenue and tax brackets. The old adage of “All you ever have to do is die and pay taxes” was a mantra that was basically accepted.
This is no longer the case.
What I fear is the Moderates and Independents will chose to stay home on Election Day or throw their hands in the air, frustrated and vote the country towards another 4 years of the same struggles.
I am far from suggesting that conservatives move towards the middle nothing, could be further from the point. What I have started doing is asking my more moderate friends some simple questions:
Do you like paying the same price for a gallon of gasoline as you do for a gallon of milk?
So which would you choose milk for the kids or gas to get to work?
How are your finances i.e. retirement and savings doing?
Do you still have a savings?
What will it look like 4 years from now?
Do you agree with cutting military spending, will you feel that way if there is another attack on the U.S?
Basic questions but watching the expressions on their faces I could tell I hit a pain point. The normal response is “Nothing can be done.” Much can be done and it starts with a vote.
The unifying of Moderates and encouraging Independents could very well swing the election by simply helping them realize this country belongs to all of us and no matter what happens we are in this together. This is to take nothing away from the T.E.A. Party and all they have done. However, there are still people out there that don’t understand what the initials even stand for, let alone what the movement represents.
As with putting together a jigsaw puzzle, quietly with my grandfather, the strategy was straightforward; establish the framework and then address the middle to finish the landscape. It is time to start the addressing of our Moderate and Independent friends and engage in the conversation that affects everyone.
This election is a multi-million piece jigsaw puzzle. The boarder has been laid but about 40% of the pieces are silently scattered on the table waiting for hands to help them find their proper place in the political picture. So many pieces, so little time, and so important for us all to help lend a hand.
While there are questions to be ask. I must ask myself which GOP candidate speaks to the hurts and pain of everyday Americans? Which candidate can overcome and avoid the stereotype of the scary right winger that so many of them will not put up with?
I ask these questions not because I haven’t made up my mind, but like my Grandfather, you’ll need to finish figuring out the puzzle yourself.
Only then can you adequately explain the picture to those who don’t have the patience.
Special Thanks: To Generic Republican and PolitiJim for editing and for always being a tweet away