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In the Middle

I was very proud of myself last night.  I was a good boy.  The State of the Union Address was on and I stayed the hell away from Facebook.  That’s a new leaf turned over, in a way, for me.  Okay, so I can’t take all the credit.  My dryer can, too.  It decided to crap out and I went to battle tearing it apart to find the origin of the problem.  But I listened to the speech from the other room.  And I thought it was good.  I’ll have to admit, I did scroll through Facebook afterwards, though, but again, I did not comment and stir up debates.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t see ignorance and closed-mindedness that rivals that of election night.  I did.  And I could follow the timeline from point to point about everything from minimum wage to gun control.  And then, suddenly, “Mark Rubio for president!”  It was everything I expected and more.  Did I mention that I commented on absolutely none of those posts?  It felt good.  And I didn’t have to waste any energy on fighting the futile battle with ideology that does not bend to the possibility of finding common ground.

Instead, I’ve come to the realization that it does not matter.  People are going to believe what they believe and feel the way they feel—liberal and conservative alike.  They hear what they want to hear, negative or positive.  It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy.  They believe they will love or hate what Obama says, and it happens.  They believe that they will love or hate what Mark Rubio is going to say, and it happens.   They will cling to their beliefs and seek out other people of importance—politicians, pundits, etc.—who echo and validate those beliefs in the name of ratings and votes.  This is in lieu of educating oneself (and this doesn’t have to be formal education).  Instead of becoming knowledgeable about these things and using that to sift through all the bias and politics, they place themselves, as well as opponents, into a box—a category of beliefs characterized by straight-party, black-and-white viewpoints, simply because it’s easier for them to wrap their minds around.  Yet, because they read these things on some biased website or saw it on some biased news channel, they think that’s educating themselves.  Somehow that makes them knowledgeable.  They will count themselves thinkers, when really that makes them followers.  It’s easier to be a follower.  A thinker challenges the current, questioning the common rhetoric.  They’re seen as outsiders; dangerous and divisive.  But it isn’t the thinker that is divisive.  It is the polarized critic of the thinker who is divisive, unwilling to think for him or herself; unwilling to find truth in the logic of both the left and the right.  When we can reconcile the two and find common ground, we will be better off.  Give moderation a chance, and perhaps America can move forward to regain our status as a cutting edge, leader-of-the-world country.


As always, if you like my blog, you’ll love my novels:  http://www.amazon.com/JM-Richardson/e/B005ML9M1A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1360772240&sr=8-1

  1. February 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Whatever genuinely stimulated u to create “In the Middle
    J.M. Richardson Blog”? I actuallycertainly enjoyed the blog post!
    Many thanks -Lorena

    • February 19, 2013 at 7:41 am

      It came when I started to read the usual torrent of Facebook commentary following the State of the Union Address. It’s been something I’ve said for a while now–the polarization our society is experiencing is dangerous (something central to my novel, “The Twenty-Nine”). There are major problems with the thinking and rhetoric from either of the extreme ends of national debate about politics, etc. Too many people miss the positive points on both sides. There is always middle ground, and therefore compromise. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you read further posts.

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