We’re taught in school about the U.S. government’s branches and how they provide a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, separate branches alone are not enough to preserve peoples’ rights.

Many countries with separate branches have collapsed. Political parties provide additional checks and balances. However, many countries that collapsed had political parties along with separate branches of government.

Perhaps the United States has just been lucky to have lasted this long. Or perhaps we have benefited from another strong source of checks and balances: moderate voters.

Historically, political parties often fought over moderate voters. Political parties have avoided the extremes for fear of losing moderate votes. In these ways, the nation has been guided by moderate voters. Logic would suggest, then, that moderate, informed voters provide checks and balances on the political parties. Today’s extremists from major parties are not sufficiently checked. They are dividing us like an ax splits a log. Opposing extremist candidates discourage turnout from moderate voters.

My greatest prayer on this nation’s behalf is that moderates will grow and resume their role as the nation’s compass and as a strong measure of checks and balances. I’m a moderate, and I declare my independence from extremism.

Evan Barlow

Pleasant View