Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Will You Meet Me In The Middle? ...

The title of this post popped into my head followed closely by the song which contains the same words as lyrics. Poetically, the song, "Sister Golden Hair," is from the band America.

What's happening to our country?

Last week, I published a post about a conversation that evolved on Facebook. A few people chimed in from both sides of the divide, but it dawned on me that we weren't having a conversation. We were refuting each other. Or we were defending our beliefs.

We were not, however, accomplishing anything worthwhile.

And that concerns me.

I understand that not everyone believes what I believe. Not everyone shares my liberal views. But as I wrote in one of my comments on that post:

We're both in our respective corners of the ring, so to speak, we come to the middle to duke it out, and then we return to our corners when the round is over.

And while we're in the ring, we're just trying to beat the hell out of each other.

Just like boxing, it's futile. Winning by beating the other person unconscious is no way to win.

I'm sure there's always been political animus. It just seems so overheated these days.

I'm not Bush-bashing here, but his rhetoric of "if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists" really seemed to widen the chasm in this country to a point that seems unbridgeable.

I truly, truly hope I'm wrong.

Then again, if the pendulum swings one way, it has to swing equally wide the opposite way, right?

(In the name of accuracy, Bush's exact quote was, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.")

But I don't really want the pendulum to swing entirely the other way. I'd like it to move slightly to the left and right of the middle. I don't expect us to come together as a nation and sing "Kumbaya" and hold hands and wear flowers in our hair. I think perspectives are good things. Looking at problems and situations from different angles enables us to consider all the possibilities and develop the best remedies and solutions.

In order for that to happen, though, we have to talk to each other. Really talk to each other. To each other. Not at each other.

Discourse in this country is no longer discourse. It's discord. And there's no end in sight.

I turned 40 last November. I'm trying to envision life in this country when I turn 50, less than a decade from now. What will life look like? What will politics look like? What will the middle class look like? Will there be a middle class?

What will education look like? Will parents still be able to afford to send their children to school? What if they can't afford to send all their children? How will they choose?

What will our infrastructure look like? Will we still be at war? Will we still be funneling unfathomable amounts of money to Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuild the cities we've destroyed while bridges in this country are deemed unsafe?

Will the Supreme Court have reversed its horrendous decision to allow corporations to spend limitless amounts of money on the campaigns of those who will do their bidding?

Are we headed for dystopia?

On the continuum of pessimism and optimism, I hover right around the middle. I believe that the universe is a benevolent place. I believe that most people are inherently good. Light conquers darkness. Kindness prevails.

But I also see a world that is becoming more divided, more selfish, more "I've got mine, screw the other guy."

And perhaps that's just a path humankind must travel, an extreme it must reach before it can right itself back toward the center. Life is nothing if not cyclical.

But this era of cynicism, of lying and distortions and petulance and greed, concerns me, gravely.

Because I feel powerless against what feels like an overwhelming tide.

But thankfully, gratefully, gradually, tides turn.


Blogger Doreen said...

Thank you for being one of the few "voices of reason" in my world!!!!

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

"Are we headed for dystopia?"

No. because there is no middle any more.

As I've said before there are those who get it and those who don't. And luckily for us, as time moves forward, the former outnumber the latter.

That alone keeps hope alive.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's so much an "I've got mine, screw the other guy." attitude. I think it's more of the "Let me decide who and how I help." It is for me at least.

I do agree that humanity must go to the extreme either way before they decide on a middle ground. We’ve tried unbridled capitalism and saw how many got left behind. Now we’re headed towards unlimited liberalism and all of it unsustainable social programs. The best solution is somewhere in the middle. We just haven’t decided on where the middle is yet.


3:07 AM  

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