Grinnell's Bastion of Journalistic Integrity

A New Political Alignment Sweeps Grinnell

By Catherine Terelak

NOYCE SCIENCE CENTER – With tough talk flying from both sides of the proverbial aisle, everyone is going crazy in today’s political climate. Cody, the only boy in your GWSS class, is one of many feeling the pressure: “Lately, it seems like you’re supposed to be an omni-sexual Marxist or an oil baron/backchannel arms dealer, and there’s no in-between.” 

Most Americans are solving the problem of political affiliation by slipping out of their meat suits and sliding into the warm caverns of CyberSpace, where they can play Brain Games and collect NFTs to purchase a political identity, but some are detaching wholesale from the hyper-polarized mainstream—these radical moderates are calling themselves the Alt-Center.

Little is known about the Alt-Center, but we do know the movement is committed to such arcane notions as “tolerance” and “cooperation.” Among their ranks are piano teachers, optometrists, and puzzle enthusiasts. In the current rage-based political system, the Alt-Center threatens us all. As leading political theorist Dr. Frankfurt MacMillan said, “When political groups ‘negotiate’ with one another, they run into a crisis situation where one group doesn’t get everything it wants and must resort to force or intimidation. Ideally, one group would have already destroyed the other group so that this situation would never occur, but the Alt-Center is putting that in jeopardy by behaving as if politics isn’t a zero sum game.” Interpersonally as well as philosophically, the Alt-Center is agreeable and averse to conflict—which is why they rarely demonstrate publicly. On Election Day 2022, however, an Alt-Center rally took place on the Noyce side of 8th Avenue. You might have taken them for a gaggle of birdwatchers, but these were in fact radical moderates. 

The Alt-Centrist rally consisted of three demonstrators, Michael, Owen, and Andrew, all dressed in khakis, polo shirts, and New Balance sneakers. None bore arms, but it should be noted that each possessed an inhaler or an EpiPen and one had both. Michael, their plain-spoken frontman, said this about the Alt-Center’s agenda: “Americans can and must make peace with the status quo. Sure, politicians will lie, cheat, and steal—and corporations are swindling us all—but we’re not going to solve anything unless we a) accept that we’re all helpless worms in the face of the powers that be and b) use what little political agency we have to compromise.” 

Owen fielded tough questions about climate change, among other issues. “It’s probably true that climate change is real and human activity is to blame,” he said, “but I don’t think private citizens can do much about it. Obviously we shouldn’t go out and burn trash, but for the most part we should just carry on as usual.” He paused to make use of his inhaler and Andrew picked up where his compatriot left off: “And I get what Greta Thunberg is doing, but I’m worried she’s falling behind in school. We make a big deal about women’s education in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but everything flies out the window when it comes to Greta, and nobody’s talking about it.”

The only time the Alt-Centrists’ ambivalence faltered was when the B&S asked about abortion. Fiddling with the orange button of his EpiPen, Michael said, “I think the fairest compromise is to tell doctors to abort half the baby and see if the rest grows back.” Owen sat down on the curb and began rubbing his temples like he had the worst headache of his life. “So, like a starfish,” he said, and Michael nodded. Andrew withdrew the inhaler from his mouth. “But people aren’t starfish,” he said. Rage flashed in Michael’s eyes. “I wasn’t talking about people. I was talking about fetuses,” Michael said, and then he turned to the B&S correspondent and said parenthetically, “We’re just trying to see every side of the issue. No idea is a bad idea in the Alt-Center.”

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1 Comment

  1. Jamieson Terelak

    Color me alt-centrist, please

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