The Center Must Not Hold

AJ Calhoun
8 min readFeb 2, 2020

The fulcrum is way over there

What’s wrong with this picture?

The political right has taken more than its share of the platform upon which our democratic society rests. The balance has shifted, the winds long ago changed, and figuring in neoliberalism as part of the right, the center has moved way far over to the right. Of course people don’t notice, because the fulcrum is always assumed to be visually in the center, so people cling to the center, to centrism, to centrists. It’s what leads, in this election year, to the issue of “electability,” at least among those of the Democratic persuasion. The worst thing that could happen is that Donald Trump could be elected again (hard to argue with that, although I believe arguments could be made), so what we need to do is throw overboard any sort of ballast that might make the Democratic candidate less than “electable.” Toss critical thinking, toss honesty, toss morality, toss empathy, and seize on some rich white person (man) who can beat Donald Trump by the obvious standard: net worth. Because money is what it’s all about, isn’t it? And the status quo (there’s that thing again, what the late Dan Fogelberg called “the fulcrum in the void,” and brother was he right about its location).

So we battle against the idealists and in favor of the monied, well-connected, centrist, compromising and compromised, because, well, we have to have someone who can match up against Donald J. Trump, who is nothing if not compromised, and we are told we can take one of these centrist candidates and use him (or perhaps her, but don’t hold your breath) to “reach across the aisle,” Capitol Hillspeak for laying down with dogs, compromising at every turn, giving up in order to have won, and above all, maintaining the status quo. Above is a picture of the current status quo.

“But the scale is made wrong! It’s defective! The illustration is rigged!” Yeah, and so is the reality. In order to maintain this balance we must make allowance for the right; the far right, at least so long as we insist on using this scale, which is visibly devised to allow the lighter weight right remain at least even with the larger left. True equilibrium can only be achieved by replacing (or repairing) the lever upon which the balance rests, because it has been tampered with and anyone can see that. In fact, here’s a picture of what equilibrium actually looks like…

AJ Calhoun

Writer, activist, novelist, sixth generation DC, local historian-storyteller, and 1:1 patient care technician five days a week.