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Finding the Center

by Richard Westlund on Categories: finding the center

Finding the Center

A century ago, William Butler Yeats wrote a poem about World War I whose lines resonate today:

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.”

One of the unfortunate results of today’s hyper-partisan political climate has been the erosion of the center. Moderates in both parties are being replaced by legislators and administrators holding all-or-nothing positions.

Political analysts point to a number of reasons why the centrists are losing influence. One reason is the growing disparity between the “haves and have-nots” in our country, due to structural changes in the U.S. economy. Job creation and income growth, for instance, have tended to be concentrated in coastal regions, rather than rural areas.

The relentless 24/7 news cycle has also had an impact, as polarizing statements tend to grab headlines, regardless of their underlying importance. Many Americans now also pick and choose media channels that reinforce their beliefs.

Also, moderate positions generally aren’t as exciting to the news media or the public. The announcement of a U.S. “trade war,” for instance, is guaranteed to make the headlines, while an update on renegotiation of an existing trade agreement would only worth a brief mention.

As a former newspaper editor, I was trained to present all sides of a story and let readers make up their minds. Using one’s common sense and critical thinking skills are essential for understanding complex problems that don’t lend themselves to a simple solution.

Take healthcare for example. In this issue of South Florida Legal Guide, attorney Gary Scott Davis looks at the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the importance of coming up with a replacement program. On the topic of immigration, attorney Carmen Arce discusses the impact of policy changes on business visas.

International trade, healthcare and immigration are three of the biggest issues currently facing South Florida’s business and professional community. Infrastructure, education, financial crimes and caring for the elderly are other topics that can be added to that list.

We believe it is vital to foster an open discussion on these complicated matters, and South Florida Legal Guide will continue to present a variety of viewpoints for our readers. Hopefully, we can do our small part to help our community find a sense of direction and build a consensus. While it may not make for exciting headlines, we hope our approach will lay the groundwork for effective action in the future.

Richard Westlund


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