Middle Of The Road

The people with megaphones get the most attention. But the majority of Americans long for moderate politics. A dispatch from our quiet, civil union

Lynsey Addario / VII for TIME

Countryside around Newtown, Iowa, about 30 miles from Des Moines, September 30, 2011.

On a lovely Friday evening in September, in an affluent suburb of St. Louis, a group of neighbors got together to talk about their country. They were Republicans, Democrats and independents--the sort of people who keep up with the news of the day, always vote and often decide the winners of presidential elections. I asked them what was on their minds.

"Civility," said Jane Miller, a Democrat. "We can't seem to have a reasonable conversation about anything anymore, and it reaches right down here to our neighborhood. We're having this really ugly fight about deer. We're overrun with them. Some people...

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