Monday, July 3, 2006

Is There A Middle Ground?

(I have been kicking this around in my mind for a while, but I am finally going to take the time to put it down in writing. After reading it, please provide some feedback. Am I totally off the mark here? Or do you feel as I do?)

What happened to civility and an exchange of ideas?

Let’s start with a simple analogy. Imagine I need to buy a new vehicle to get back and forth to work. I can buy a car or a truck. Either choice would meet my basic needs, but they each would offer additional (and distinct) benefits. A truck would allow me to haul my bike around with ease and a car would offer comfortable seating for additional passengers. There are pros and cons of either decision. And choosing one means not choosing the other.

Because this is a simple analogy, ultimately, I choose a hybrid of both. I buy a truck with a full extended cab, so I can haul items and have room for passengers. I get the best of both worlds.

But in the real world, where Republicans are trucks and Democrats are cars, there is no middle ground. I am forced by closed minds to choose one or the other. More than that, I must only see the positive of my choice and view the other option as completely wrong.

In today’s political and social world, there can be only one side. Compromise is a pipe dream, because to do so would be to acknowledge that there may be merits to an opposing view. But I think seeing the world as black and white, with only one side having the answers, limits what we can do.

In my opinion, the world is full of middle grounds. There are so many opinions I have that are to liberal for the conservatives and too conservative for the liberals:

  • Women should do everything possible to avoid an abortion, but the choice to have one should always remain theirs.
  • It’s possible to be politically aware without being politically correct.
  • I can make decisions from the heart without being a bleeding heart.
  • I can be spiritual without being religious.
  • I think families with a father and a mother are great, but not automatically better than non-traditional families.
  • Gay men and women can serve honorably in the military, not because they are gay but because they, too, are proud Americans.
  • Providing drug treatment and counseling to addicts is far better than throwing them back on the streets without help.

Well, that’s enough examples. My point is simple. I believe that holding complex views is a sign of intelligence, compassion, and wisdom. Other people believe it is a weakness, an inability to make a decision.

The bottom line here is that I think, in the current political climate, that we are expected to support every decision and statement made by those who share our party label and disagree with everything from the other side. Democrats must act as if every Republican idea is stupid and dangerous, and Republicans must act as if every Democratic action is morally wrong and weak.

Can it really be true that one side is 100% correct? Anyone else have an opinion?

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