The Middle Under Fire

I finally have a little time before work this morning to update this blog. Right now, it’ll be another look at the nation’s politics, which are certainly exploding in such a manner as to rival my douchebag neighbors who can’t wait to light their God blessed fireworks until the fourth of July. They may be equally as insensitive to the needs of others and illogical, too.

After the sanction of “Obamacare” by the Supreme Court, columnist Rich Lowry condemned Justice Roberts for casting about DESPERATELY to find some means of approving the law. I usually agree with the rather conservative Lowry, but I had to cock my mouth in disappointment and skip to a different article at that. I dislike this modern mistrust in government. It isn’t just in regards to law, but also to safety. The idea that no one knows what they’re doing and that all government sanctions and thoughts amount to is control by The Man. Bringing in a local example, every decade or so there’s another “raw milk” fad. The idea that unpasteurized milk contains so many more nutrients and is so much better and The Man just doesn’t want us to have that. It’s true that raw milk does contain a few more nutrients. But they’re so few, you can pick them up in other food. What else does it have? E. coli, and I believe we’ve had at least three cases of CHILDREN getting sick from the raw milk their hippy parents give them. So no thanks, I’ll take my milk relatively nuked, and trust the government on this.

The point of that ramble being that Justice Roberts has always said he would not do what was expected simply because he was a conservative Justice, but what he believed was correct in the law. I respect that view point and admire him for it, so if the Supreme Court thinks the Affordable Care Act is alright, fine. Go for it.

On the other side of the fence we have Leonard Pitts Jr. He’s almost ALWAYS too liberal for me to stomach, but he writes so eloquently that I do have to give credit where credit is due (who else would categorize bullshit as a lie worth of fertilizing the Great Lawn of Central Park?). Today his syndicated column was about how truth is being pushed out of our political communication as a nation. I certainly agreed with him, until his very last line, suggesting what would amount to Sectionalism if this were 1859.

Really, Mr. Pitts? Despite attempts on both sides to make Obamacare the Biggest Deal Ever, I just can’t buy into it. I wasn’t cursing at the sky when it passed, and I certainly wasn’t popping the champagne. It was a thing. It was going to happen. If it really did screw us over, I had no doubt it would get repealed. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve made a bone headed decision and reversed course (Prohibition, for instance).

But the reason I can be so nonchalant is I’m very middle of the road. And that’s what I find so disturbing about this whole mess – we are so intent on showing who is the most liberal, the most conservative, the truest of the true that we leave no room for compromise. Which surely is the whole point of Democracy. I can respect not budging on one’s principle’s, but not EVERYTHING can be a principle. Surely we must have the sense to at least acknowledge that the opinions of others are not always wrong.

It’s very easy to pick on the conservatives for this, most people do and I can’t necessarily blame them. The Tea Party is shoving the Republican Party in some scary and desperate ways. But since I live in a VERY liberal area, let me just put the shoe on the other foot for a moment.

I have only ever had to argue with a conservative about social politics once, and that was a Mormon in high school who wanted to say he knew everything to know about God and His opinion on gay marriage, but recognized it would be wrong to categorize homosexuals as somehow wrong and alien. But his religious upbringing was making it so he was putting his foot in his mouth. He was an idiot anyway, but I was wise enough to acknowledge his opinion could be right, though I did not believe so. All other attacks and fights have been by liberal friends and family, which is perhaps why I find them so frustrating, because they are so consistently RUDE.

Apparently particularly offensive is the idea that I am a moderate Republican. I’ve been told “Why don’t you just make up your mind!?” I thought I had. I had been under the impression that my mind had been made up as a MODERATE REPUBLICAN. But as all the above examples show, the middle ground is coming increasingly under fire. Rather than a voice of reason, it is a heretic against what is Right, whatever that may be.

I have been happy to tell others I plan to re-register once I move and become an Independent, simply because I don’t like where the party is going. This seems to give my attackers this glint of hope, and they say “Ah, I’ll make a Democrat of you yet.” Pardon me, but I’m not sure there’s anything more offensive. I have never, EVER told someone I would change their mind. It would be unconscionable of me to do so. My stance has always been “I disagree with your opinion, but I can certainly understand why you hold it.” I’m the only Republican in at least half of my Democratic family who supports gay marriage. I don’t like abortion, but I wouldn’t get rid of it. I’m happy enough to accept Obamacare if the highest court in the land approves of it. Why is THIS, then, offensive?

This way of thinking is currently out of vogue, and I find that disturbing. Perhaps more disturbing is (at least in Blue states like mine) the lauding of the Democratic Party as the saviors of the nation. The tolerant, the magnanimous. If this is the case, why are you, dear friends tolerant of everything….except the idea that I could disagree with you?

Well, I’m late for work. Chew that up, and spit it out back at me, we’ll have some fun.


About emilydnelson

A recent graduate of Hofstra University with a B.A. in anthropology, Emily is like every other twenty-two year old on the planet - trying to figure out what the hell to do now. Follow as she struggles with writing, her social work job, and bopping from coast to coast.
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2 Responses to The Middle Under Fire

  1. That Hanna Creature says:


    Dude, the country has ALWAYS been like this. This isn’t a recent thing.The parties are on the same trajectory as they’ve always been and it’s sort of unfair to blame the Tea Party or OWS as outside factions pushing the parties in different directions. The fact of the matter is both group have ALWAYS been there, and they represent the core party values at their loudest and most in your face. But they’re not saying/doing anything that the main parties don’t underhandedly do themselves.

  2. Kurt says:

    As is reflective of our basic positions, I usually find Leonard Pitts on-target and Lowery off-target (but not always for either), but that is the point you are making. While we can have a slightly different take on the issues, we can agree to disagree–civilly.

    And, yes, factions have always been with us and–as the Federalist papers show–are an indispensable part of the make-up of our republic. The problem is not that there are factions (there have always been and must be to make the system work). The problem is that when the factions become extreme and demand loyalty to the extreme and impose a litmus test for membership, then the extreme wings control the process. It is the genius of our system that it is designed to allow the middle to rule and seek common ground.

    Whenever the extremes take control, the country suffers great harm. The failure of the Federalist to effectively counter the Democrats without resorting to extremes, the Jackson period of the 1830, the Civil War (the most egregious period of the extremes ruling–the 1850s into Civil War), et cetera up to our huge divide of Blue and Red states.

    While we will suffer in the short run, eventually the beauty of the American system will prevail and we will once more think of what is best for the country as a whole and not our individual parties.

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