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Same old, same old

Posted: March 13, 2017 4:32 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Will we ever get out of this spiral of polarization? Has Big Brother finally won?

Sometimes I wonder.

Loony tunes aside, I used to think the ship would for the most part stay on course. That is to say, while I’ve always understood there is a right large collection of loose nuts and bolts rattling around the giant junk drawer that makes up the good old U.S. of A., it always seemed to me that somehow, someway, the grown-ups would manage to hang onto the steering wheel long enough to allow the maladjusted to either see the error of their ways or failing that, at least send them back to the corner to their thumbs for awhile.

Indeed, in spite of all the vitriol on the Internet, I was hoping the insanity would stay in virtual reality rather than become manifest in real time.

Alas, lines blur, worlds collide.

I think the thing that really bothers a good ol’ garden variety centrist like yours truly is this feeling that the wing nuts of the world have overtaken the mainstream. Here I sit, firmly standing in the middle of the road, wondering where common sense went.  And then a recurring notion, like a bad dream, hits me yet again.

That is, if you view the whole spectrum of political discourse as a giant fanny, and if the Nazis are the pimples on the right cheek and the Commies are the boils on the left cheek, what does that make me, the source of all hot air?

It’s an uncomfortable place to be. I’m assuming -- pardon the inherent pun there -- that if I complain a lot, then I am causing some pain, therefore I am a pain in the above-mentioned unmentionable. 

But all I’ve ever wanted was perspective.  I’ve been told too many times by too many people and institutions that theirs is the only way; that I need to get in bed in order to get on board.  

But what’s the difference between that and just plain old Jihad, except maybe the lack of guns and bombs?

Many of my uber-opinionated friends tell me my centrism is nothing but a cop out; a high-falutin’ way to commit to nothing. They may be right about that. The problem is no one has earned my undying, unwavering fealty. But no; for some reason if I am an advocate of personal responsibility then I must also be unalterably opposed to all aspects of the safety net. If for some reason I don’t believe people should have to sell a body part to save their lives, then I must be one of those commie pinko socialized medicine types. If I am for the careful vetting of people who would seek to become my permanent neighbor and fellow citizens, then I must also be for building the Great Wall of Mexico. And If I didn’t vote for Trump because I thought he was a blowhard and a lightweight, why haven’t I quit my job and charged shrieking into the streets from the nearest safe space?

I think a good argument can be made that standing in the middle is the most dangerous place to be. After all, if you're the chicken crossing the road, and you're stuck in the middle, sooner or later you're going to become a feathered welcome mat. Ya gotta stand for something and ya gotta stick to it, no matter what, so they preach from all sides.

Therein lies my salvation and my doom. I can't cross to either side of the road because the folks on the other side think I’m a spy and the folks on the side I just left think I’m a traitor. In the middle, I can make no sense to anyone, because I am either too far to the right of the one or too far left of the other.

I’ve got an idea. Why can’t we all just have a collective party by a burn barrel, somewhere, maybe have a couple of cold ones and just jaw a little while. 

There are too many good ideas from all over the map.  

There are too many bad ideas from the very same places.

Why can’t we cherry pick the best and just go with that?


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