the middle of the road

It’s hard at my age to make change. But I’m working on it. I’ve reluctantly acquired the ability to look at myself with a critical, honest eye and I’ve had some success. My biggest challenge of late has been open-mindedness and I’m happy to say that I am really breaking down barriers.

A big one for me is my, for lack of a better word, politics. “Politics” is a funny word. Many shy away from it as if it was a civics course with a required grueling exam.
“I don’t talk politics.”
“Ugh, I don’t get it.”
“I don’t care about politics, it doesn’t affect me.” That one is my favorite.
To me, politics is current events. Knowing what is going on in the world. Being present as if my lone, infinitesimal opinion matters. Understanding the human element as it pertains to world events. It’s a game, really. But I believe that it affects all of us and knowledge of it is critical to our existence. Politics matter.

While nothing is cut and dry in the world I believe most people, at some point pick a side. Our personalities often play a large role in which direction we lean. The problem as I see it is that people feel that they must pick a side. In today’s charged political environment many have become entrenched.

There was a day, not that long ago that it was ok to think what you want and support who you choose and discourse was possible. We could agree to disagree. At some point we have lost that. The climate has gotten angry, intolerant even violent. Couples have broken up over who won an election, people have been attacked in public places for wearing a hat. Elected officials have publicly called for violence against those who disagree with them. Hate is in the air.

I got caught up in it. The attacks on social media, the anger, the intolerance and the name calling caused me to feel as if it was personal. I picked a side and I dug in. Forgetting that it’s ok to walk the middle of the road.

It’s a good place to walk, just don’t allow yourself to get hit. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically.

Somewhere along the line I forgot that it was ok to not react. To think before I spouted an opinion. To not take a side. I forced myself to read blogs by people who are polar opposites of me politically. I tuned in to networks that lean differently than I do. I made an effort to challenge myself and encouraged others to challenge me. I found myself gritting my teeth at times but I’m a nicer person for it, and that was my goal. None of the anger made my life any better.

My father always said that nothing is ever simple, that everything has a story. In this day and age of soundbites and misinformation it is easy to forget that. Books have been placed by YouTube videos and everyone has a digital pulpit to speak. The question I have to ask is “is it true?” Then and only then should I react. React to what is right, not what aligns with whatever side I have chosen. Critical thinking is a God-given gift that I for one failed to open.

I don’t know. Let me look into it and get back to you. I’ll think about it as I walk down the middle of the road. That’s where the truth lies…somewhere in the middle.

12 thoughts on “the middle of the road”

  1. Well, you got me. I refuse to talk politics. Mostly I feel I can’t change stupid. HA! No, it takes a lot to engage these days… a lot of damn energy! I have had to learn not to waste mine. I applaud your road walk. Don’t get hit. I’ll join you at mile marker 9. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I commend you for that…it’s hard to do – especially if it ‘grates’ on you. I’m disappointed that this virus has caused my bookstore to cancel the (political/social) monthly discussions. I attended one and was looking forward to the others that appeared to be more ‘meaty’ in (political) substance. It’s so much…easier/nicer/informative…to have a real-time sharing of values/ideas in a safe environment…I think that’s how we can really learn from each other and find some common ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. IMO your last line is spot on.
    Today’s politics are nothing more than a shouting match for the cameras, empty promises and back stabbing. I didn’t vote for the current lot in charge, not the opposition, but I did vote, and thus feel entitled to moan. Most times I keep my own counsel on things I might not understand sufficiently to put forward a good argument, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion. Hubby and I differ on several things, but each of us respects the other’s point of view. We certainly wouldn’t split up over it. His dad and I used to have some great debates, and I miss them as they really made me think and to see things from a different perspective. Life is not black and white or cut and dried. We make a choice, then later we may need to make compromises. It’s how we learn to adapt without giving in or becoming nothing more than an echo of the ‘Yes’ men.

    Liked by 1 person

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