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It’s not easy being in the middle

Imagine standing on the narrow median strip of a major thoroughfare in your hometown. It’s a harsh environment for sure. Cars and trucks wiz by you, furiously heading in opposite directions. And if they stop at a red light you feel exposed. Drivers are looking at you, wondering if you’re okay. In their eyes you can detect concern but also disdain, maybe even hostility. You don’t belong here. You are out of place. And it feels pretty dangerous.

The Texas populist Jim Hightower famously said that the only thing in the middle of the road was, “yellow stripes and dead armadillos.” Well, I’m from Wisconsin where we have plenty of roadkill, especially deer, but no armadillos. And the yellow stripes down our country roads are sometimes covered in snow. Still, I get Hightower’s point. Especially these days, moderates don’t get much respect. This site is intended to be a place where moderates can share ideas.

I served two terms as mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, as liberal a college town as there is. Since I left office at the insistence of the voters in 2011 and between stints of gainful employment as an adjunct professor and nonprofit director, I have written the Citizen Dave blog for Madison’s alt weekly, Isthmus.

That writing has given me the chance to think a little more deeply about my political philosophy. These days I’m thought of as a moderate in these parts though I’d still be a liberal in much of the country and probably a Marxist in Oklahoma. No matter. What I’m interested in is a respectful sharing of ideas. Anyone who refrains from demonizing his opponents and is looking for a place to get away from the hard lines and hard feelings of the left and right is welcome here.

Our features will include my blog, ideas from contributors, book reviews, articles to share and more.

I hope you enjoy the site.

Dave Cieslewicz

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