It’s just a few weeks into a new year, still a long way to November, but the primary battles for both parties are already underway, not only for this year’s elections, but for 2016 as well.

And from what I hear, no one expects the moderate voter to show up at any election.

The moderate voter has become a scarce commodity because it is so much easier to take a position on the left or the right and then just hold to it no matter what. “It’s the principle.” It’s a lot harder to stand in the middle and continually examine our principles to see what they truly require of us.

Back in 1776, the leaders of the country decided that if we all pulled together, we could do without King George. It wasn’t easy to get 13 colonies to agree because of the extreme differences of opinion among them on everything from slavery to tobacco. But they came to a middle ground.

Can you believe that? Those conservatives and liberals came to a middle ground. Then, to ensure that possibility would be there for the future, it was decided that the U.S. system would provide not only for both ends, but for the middle, too. At the one end sits the legislative branch — the House and the Senate. At the other end is the executive branch, headed by the president. And straddling the middle and creating balance  is the judicial branch.

It’s a tough job to take that middle, but over the years, the Supreme Court has done a good job of being neither too liberal nor too conservative.

There have been a lot of challenges to our system since the Constitution became law, but America works. And it will continue to work, as long as we keep that balance.

“Aye,” said Hamlet, “there’s the rub.”

All Americans value the rights of our Constitution: freedom of speech, the rights to vote and own guns, to have access to courts and justice, separation of church and state, etc. But all of these rights are abused, violated, and sometimes pushed to the limit. It makes us angry and tempts us to extreme reactions.

Now we are seeing the results of ignoring the middle and going to the extreme — a dysfunctional government. What we need in the election of 2014 is that very moderate voter who is not expected to show up. He or she is desperately needed — to temper the arrogance, the apathy and the single-issue, monolithic radicals on the one side and the “bigger government is better government,” more-regulations, higher-taxes radicals on the other.

Who will say “no more” to both sides?

In this free country, it’s you and I. By the choices we make and do not make, by the things we do and do not do, by what we value and do not value, we decide whether there will be a middle ground in our country or not.

This year we must insist that those voters and candidates who will stand in the middle be considered, recognized and protected just as strongly as those on the left or the right. 

Far too many have died so that we may have the freedoms we enjoy in America. It’s time just as many decide to live for it.

In the coming election, I beseech you to fly the flag from the middle ground. Be moderate. Dare to do it. It’s the price of freedom — political, economic, religious.

Wayne Viereck is a retired Lutheran pastor. Contact him at