Thursday, August 18, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, this nation lost a great man.  Mark Hatfield served in the US Senate for 6 terms.  While he was committed to fulfilling his office, he didn't always vote the way much of his constituency wanted him to.   He voted according to  his conscience which put him more often than not in the middle between political extremes, and sometimes at variance with as many as 90+% of his supporters. Yet, they loved him and kept re-electing him.  I read in an article* about him the other day  that while re-election was never his goal when he considered how to vote on any issue, he never lost an election. *  

If only we had a congress full of Mark Hatfields today. We surely could use a man of his moderate, sensible, responsible stature in every office in our government. 
or how ‘bout in just one of them!!? Assuredly! I think we all felt that way recently when we watched the debt-ceiling circus performance of our re-election-focused politicians. It looked to me, at least, as if each congressman strove to fit in with his/her colleagues and stand firmly against all opponents across the aisle.  How much sooner might the crisis have been resolved if we had a dozen more Hatfields committed to finding a solution somewhere in the middle of the road where truth so often lies? 

You and I recently had a discussion about this middle of the road thing in contrast to our increasingly polarized atmosphere in Washington DC.  We began to ask whether it is wise, safe, or even possible to stay in the middle and hope to have any influence-- or even to survive.

your question is a really good one, and probably deserves a better answer than I know to give! if I’d been in charge of the sandbox down in Washington the other week, I’d’ve sent them all to bed without dessert!! I’d have sent them without DINNER! and I’d defer, gladly! it seems to me that it’s because of the chasm left by the desertion of good sense, that hideous forms of extremism are able to survive and thrive. By the time a guy like john bohner comes to his senses and sees what his political stumping, instead of leading, is doing to both sides, and begins to actually lead…it’s way too late…the game’s been thrown and the inmates have taken the asylum!

unfortunately, and, to me, sadly, the one guy we’d counted on NOT to be in the middle of the road, in so many important issues, has been the worst one of all…and understand this, he’s been MY GUY!! obama has tried so very hard to walk the middle ground he’s almost run over HIMSELF!!

several weeks ago, bebe netenyahu was here, and for the first time in many, many years was allowed to leave with a bad taste in his mouth…obama wants to be israel’s friend, but he wants to be a friend of Palestine as well, it seems, and for whatever reason—I don’t know the reason, maybe someone could tell me—he doesn’t  understand that you cannot be friends with muslim terrorists…they don’t wish your friendship, or even your existence…get over it…yes, yes, yes, there are wonderful muslims, I’m sure, all over the world—and until they are willing to stand up and deal with their terrorist brethren, themselves, they must deal with the stigma of being identified among them…this is not MY problem, it is THEIR problem…

so, now, the “wondering” we extend to those on this train with us—is it even possible, today—in today’s more contentious environment—to stay in the middle of the road, or anywhere nearby it? or has “middle of the road” just, in fact, become a dirty phrase, and we who try to go there, “wusses” or “weenies!”

ethel and I took, finally, a few minutes to define our terms…we define middle of the road thusly:

  • it must include the notion of THINKING; using one’s head
  • politically, there must be no democrats, republicans, libertarians, or any other side-taking; only individuals.
  • all extremes on any or every side must be erased or ignored.
  • it must acknowledge that the goal is truth (and justice, and maybe even the American Way!)  whatever that or they may be
  • it must acknowledge all who come to speak…and there must be listening to all comers, and a consideration of all ideas.
“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.”
 Margaret Thatcher

  So what do you think? Is it worth it? Or not? Come talk!!