It’s Lonely in the Middle

I can’t begin to understand the machinations of politics, I don’t think anybody can unless you’re one of Them. I can only report what I personally see. And what I see is a division in America unlike anything in my lifetime.

Most people aren’t asking for much. We’d like a decent job, to hang on to our homes, to not be bullied by the government. We would like America to stop intervening in every single Mideast skirmish. We’d like to see some of that war money pumped into our own economy. The person who could lead us to a strong economy would be a hero.

But because of political fanaticism on both sides, this imaginary person doesn’t have a chance. Republicans are mocked and hated where I live. In fact, it is acceptable in our culture to mock them anywhere, from WordPress forums regarding a person they found difficult (what do you expect, she’s a Republican) to Six Word Stories (Cute. Smart. Funny. Nice. Republican. Shit.). The people who mock them support Obama even though he continues to spend billions on foreign wars and aid while 14 million Americans can’t find jobs—and what’s more amazing, they consider themselves anti-war. I try to understand this, so I ask questions.

It always comes down to the same thing: religion. I ask, what do you think of Herman Cain? Religious zealot! What do you think of Michele Bachmann? Evangelist flake! I won’t even print what they think of Sarah Palin.

Conservatives need to consider this, because even if they do win it will simply result in more polarization, more fighting, more division. I lean toward conservatism in immigration, border security, gun laws, and other issues. But I’m going to be forced to make some sacrifices to vote against Obama because so far, our choices are distressingly inadequate.

I don’t want an evangelical Christian for a leader any more than I want an overly-indulgent liberal who is blind to the problems we face. To pull this country together, both sides must make concessions. I don’t want any god forced on me. Planned Parenthood has been taking care of me since I was a teenager—they taught me everything my parents and school didn’t about how to not get pregnant. I love the creativity and friendliness of the gay culture. Why are these issues so important to conservatives, and how do they expect to win allies with such hardline conservatism? Why do they care so much who sleeps with who, or who marries who? And gays, why do you care so much about getting married? Wouldn’t you rather have a job? Jeez, get a will and a power of attorney like I did.

Atheism isn’t a choice any more than belief is, and neither has anything to do with spirituality, compassion, or morality. A religious person isn’t better than me, they just believe in something I don’t. Get it out of politics or lose America for good.

32 responses to “It’s Lonely in the Middle

  1. This is a good essay. Millions and millions feel what you’ve expressed.

    I don’t count on government for anything but interfering with freedom – It’s ironic in our country to have that experience with government, but that is my experience, and it is every day.

    The divide is unfortunate, especially when those who have a religion are tagged as unacceptable. Jimmy Carter was extremely religious, and he was a Democrat (of course, he may be the worst president on record). Kennedy had faith. Truman had faith. I don’t want anyone pushing god on me, but I’m not sure I trust an atheist as president because the atheist would believe that (s)he is the greatest power in the universe, and that is dangerous. Over-reaching government and egotistical leaders are the reasons why we are in this mess in the first place.

    • Religious people aren’t tagged as unacceptable at all. I have no problem with religion when people find comfort in it. I envy them. It’s the evangelicals who push their beliefs on a nation where many people find it distasteful. They may win in the end, but it won’t pull us together.

      • I agree – proselytizers grind every normal human’s nerves, but the problem is that most people who fight so hard against religion (not you) confuse the proselytizers with the run-of-the-mill spiritual people. That’s why I am a closet-spiritual dude – I hide from the religionists and hide from the atheists.

  2. What makes me sick...

    Dum Dum can honestly understand where you are coming from. Dum Dum lives in the jaws of a coalition government. That is to say nobody really wanted ANY of the major players in the last election. So, due to the overall indecisiveness of the population, we have ended up with a Conservative-Liberal Democrat version of a government (we call it the CONDEM government). Oh the puns do fly! It’s actually like two starving dogs fighting over a half-eaten Cheeseburger. A really shit cheeseburger. Problem is, it’s really a Conservative regime, that is Hell bent on tax rises and malicious spending cuts that affect the vulnerable in our ‘society’. Once Dum Dum gets over his ‘Writers Block’ he will get this blog thing going properly. By the way, thank you Debra for your last comment. It was very kind, especially after what you have been going through lately. Cheers!

    • Hi DD, I have heard the UK called a “nanny state.” I have read stories about parents criticized for letting their children walk a few feet from the bus stop to their homes after school. But they allow Muslims with cab licenses to not pick up a blind person with a seeing eye dog. (I think they do that here too). Is this true? I never thought of the UK as conservative. Are there too many laws or not enough? Or are they just bad laws?

      There are the poor and then there are the real poor—people whose lifestyle is living “on the dole” vs. people who are disabled or mentally ill. To defund agencies that help unemployed or underemployed (that’s me in this horrible economy) is not helping a nation. How much help citizens need depends on job availability. In my opinion. Right now I need help, but nobody gives a shit.

  3. We’d be a lot more successful as a country if politicians and voters could keep their religious beliefs where they belong. Strongly religious people think their religious beliefs are universal, and they simply are not. But what can you say to make them see?

    We can only move ahead if one of two things happen:

    1. We all adopt the exact same religion
    2. We all agree to keep our religious beliefs out of politics

    I’m sure we all agree #1 is crazy. And unfortunately, for a lot of Americans, #2 is, too.

    • Hi Kay, yes. It just shouldn’t be such a huge part of politics. The only people who think it should are those who think exactly the same. That leaves millions of people who will disagree. I know a president can’t please everyone, but we’ve got to have more choices or America will just continue on the way it is, with people hating each other.

      People misunderstand and think we are being disrespectful to Christians, and that just isn’t true at all. I would actually prefer a Christian president. Liberal Christian, conservative politically. Why is that so hard to find? Is this evangelism we’re seeing a backlash against Obama? I don’t get it.

  4. Since Michelle Bachmann represents a district close to me, I’ve seen a lot of her. I don’t know what she stands for – all I know is who she hates. And she hates a lot of people. Mostly, anyone who isn’t just like her.
    I can’t even really imagine having a conversation or discussion with her, like adults used to have. Because all she can do is scream and hate, hate, hate.
    I think some of these people, when they got religion, need to reload it, because the download was corrupt. They need the full version, the one that has mercy, compassion, love and charity as features.

    • Hi Harry, Michele Bachmann scares me. She will bring a right-wing backlash like we’ve never seen if she’s elected. People either love her or hate her, and that is worst thing that could happen to America.

  5. While government shouldn’t force religion on anyone, we also can’t compartmentalize our lives to the point where what we BELIEVE (religion) has no effect on what we DO (politics).

    For example, one of the most basic American values – “all men (people) are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” is obviously built on a religious belief. Counter that with what evolution teaches (specifically Social Darwinism) – that some humans are more evolved than others and therefore have more right to live (survival of the fittest). One believes in God, the other doesn’t, but both belief systems are religious in a way.

    Or, cut out beliefs of any kind, and all that’s left to motivate your actions is basic instinct (I want to eat, I want to have sex, I want to kill). Chaos and anarchy.

    I fear a government of either extreme – religious or not.

    Great post – some really great points.

    • Well the atheists I know are hardly driven by instincts of eating, sex, killing, chaos, or anarchy. They are more often found rescuing animals or involved in some other charitable work. That’s like saying people are worthless bastards without religion. But if people need it for whatever reason, that’s fine with me. I never said religion was bad, I said an overabundance of it is divisive for America.

      Fearing a government of either extreme is exactly my point, hence the title of the post.

    • I agree. Of course our religious beliefs do have an effect on what we do – as individuals. But I believe we as humans are smart enough to separate the two when making decisions that affect people who have other religious beliefs.

      So, if I believe fairies in the woods don’t want me to wear a ponytail on Mondays, that doesn’t mean I’m going to vote to ban everyone in the country from wearing a ponytail on Mondays.

      If we can send people to the moon, I think we can do it. 🙂

  6. Dag gum, you do know what questions to ask.

    Why do some people, governments and special interest groups always flip their lids when someone puts forth a question. Why not question the huggers of causes? Yet to them a question is criticism, an insult.

    I remember as a kid being fascinated with Question Period (I know, I know, I was even boring at a wee tender age). Question Period is a time slot which is allotted daily for Questions to be asked in the House of Commons towards the Prime Minister. It has always be televised (I think) and heavily reported and is probably the most effective tool, in my mind, that exists in the Canadian political machine. For the most part it is the one time during each day where elected members of parliament can question the ruling government on matters that affect the people of the areas from where they were elected.

    • Hi Hudson, I’m really just trying to say that fundamentalism from any political party, left or right, (or even individuals) does not work and we should all tone it down. I keep my private beliefs to myself in daily life—I vent on my blog and even then I don’t talk about it much. Religion is deeply personal and it’s kind of shocking how huge an issue is being made of it these days. It only alienates people who otherwise may have voted for you.

      Was the Question Period enlightening? Maybe people were more polite when we were kids, because now you can’t watch any kind of interview (of questions and answers) without everybody talking at once and NOT answering the questions. They do everything but. Moderators constantly interrupting is the most annoying thing. I can’t listen so I read. Then you don’t know what’s real because MSM puts its own spin on it.

      • I guess the point I was feebly trying to get across is this. The watchdog should be the middle. I just don’t think your (the middle’s) questions and concerns are being heard over the yammering from the left and right whose egos are enormous, so it seems. But are there not more ‘middle’ than left and right. Over here yonder, I think, the middle rocks. So many things, that seem to be on going State side, have been dealt with years, if not decade(s) ago -Gay marriage, abortion rights to name the biggies. Lets hope someday the ‘middle’ will rock there as well.

        Question Period is part of Parliamentary procedure, a process of government. It’s how we make the Government accountable for their policies and what they say. Lie to a question, and basically your ass is grass to put it plainly.

  7. Nonono, Debra; I never said atheists were driven only by instincts – reread my comment! I actually mentioned that people who don’t believe in God still have beliefs (yes, I was using social darwinism as an example, and I know most atheists don’t subscribe to THAT belief, but it was meant to illustrate how non-God-related beliefs can hurt society, too). I consider atheism a religion; the instinct comment referred to people without ANY religion.

    I know you fear both extremes; I was replying partly to Kay’s comment. I should have specified – my mistake. Please forgive me!

    • Sorry, I misunderstood. I just never heard atheism referred to as a religion before, I’m still not sure I understand. I do see some atheist blogs that are almost cult-like, and that’s not good for a leader of America either because it alienates too many people. I don’t know anyone who believes in evolution who thinks that some humans have more of a right to live than others—just that survival of the fittest is the way animals survive. I’ll have to research that.

  8. You are soo right about the problem of religion. It’s beyond scary that people are so sure of something they can’t prove.

    As far as Obama–remember that he inherited the wars that were only supposed to last a few months and he also inherited the economic mess and the tax cuts and everything else. So it’s not his fault and considering that the rest of the world is in the same boat it looks like no one knows how to fix it.

  9. You pose some interesting questions here, and these are questions that I ponder often. Although my political leanings are different than yours I am still caught in the middle. Politics, the art of getting nothing done and saying that everything has been completed, has turned into nothing more than a monotone compromise that none of us can understand.

    Like you I would like nothing better that to get out of the middle east and spend some of this money on domestic issues. Like you I would love to see religion out of politics, even though I am a deeply spiritual (not religious) person.

    It seems as though neither the Democrats or Republicans have the answers to our economic problems because they both support big business, the responsible party for getting us into this mess.

    We need a reapportionment of wealth in this country like we have never needed it before. I have no problem with more taxes for the rich, but I also have no problem with everyone (except for the truly disabled) working for what they get.

    It’s hard to be a moderate. You are disliked by liberals and conservatives alike. I’ve gotten used to it.

    • Hi Bill, I know there are a lot of us out there, but our voices aren’t heard over the ranting. The middle are the people who shut up and deal with life. It’s unbelievable how little gets done by politicians except to maintain the status quo or make things worse. Your spirituality is evident in your writings. Why can’t that be enough?

  10. Hi Debra,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I didn’t know about the extensive RV community in the blog world either, until I started doing research. Harry and I are excited about starting our life of fulltiming, but we have some work to do here before we will be able to hit the road.

    I have been reading your blog only for a couple weeks, but I find your posts very compelling. I haven’t commented very much, as I don’t know that I have anything to add to what you have said. But I share your frustration with the political world.

    • Hi Jessica,
      I think it’s very cool that RVers (is that the right term?) have an online community of such friendly and supportive people. I imagine most of them would welcome questions and discussion and do whatever they could to help a fellow traveler embark upon a new life. I hope the terrible housing market doesn’t delay your plans. Thanks for writing, and I wish you luck every step of the way.

  11. Hey Darlin –

    As I read and re-read your post – I realize you’re not quite yet as cynical about some aspects of life as I am – which of course means you must be a little younger.

    Nothing wrong with the middle, upper, or lower – I forget who said it but someone once said something about Independence. That’s just middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

    A few years back, I gave up trying so hard to fit into a category – maybe I was destined to be a Cowboy since the only category anyone could put me in was ‘cowboy’ – still I was, in some ways, dependent on those people that claimed to be better than me or tried to classify me to their liking. I’ve reached a point in my life that I feel has allowed me the luxury to be cynical and pretty much ignore who I want and when I want – especially when it comes to politics.

    Take care Darlin ………….. Cowboy

    • Hi Cowboy, you’re right that we’re all dependent on each other. One more reason to lighten up. We have to do business with people whose beliefs are opposite to our own. They are our associates, colleagues, neighbors, customers, bosses. Our personal beliefs are our own business, unless it involves child or animal abuse, then my adrenaline takes over, as yours and any good person’s would and should.

      I can’t ignore politics because of exactly that reason, the animosity we’re experiencing within our country affects us all.

      I’m pretty cynical too—we see things as they are, not as they should be. It’s realism. There’s an old saying about the definition of an optimist—a person who doesn’t have all the facts. True, yes? Thanks for your wise comments.

  12. Unfortunately the polarisation of politics is happening to a lesser extent in Australia; both parties are supporting the war in Afghanistan which I think is a mistake. Global Warming policies and carbon tax are the chief drivers of division.

    • Hi JL, polarization is unhealthy for any country, but at least yours involve loftier issues than religion. I’m sorry for the moderate people of Afghanistan, if there are any, and sorry for the women, but we all need to deal with our own problems first. It’s a waste of money to fight these wars when our citizens can’t put food on the table.

  13. What you said is so true. Everyone is America has their own agenda. “What about me?” We are all one in this nation, no one is any better than anyone else, rich, poor, race or creed. What a bunch of immature school children we have all become. Why do we have to be enslaved by this “win” mentality to be successful? This constant battle makes us all losers in the end.

    • Hi Virginia, thank you for reading. Acting like children is an apt analogy, and that is exactly right that we all lose in the end. Nobody’s willing to give. It won’t work. Take care and thanks for writing.

  14. Good Morning Debra,
    I wish people across this Country and Canada would have just a bit of knowledge of what border living is like. As I’ve told you, we had to leave because of the job situation in AZ. No people don’t get it. They don’t get the actual destruction that is caused by the illegals, with jobs, mother nature, personal property, the list goes on and on. Believe it or not, I’ve found that this part of Southern TX is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We live SW of Houston, and there is more Middle Easterns than Mexicans, what a shock for us.
    I have started to volunteer at the animal shelter up in town, I just want to give something back to the forgotten ones.
    Debra, I am at a loss for words today, because I can’t even picture the destruction that has been done. I was up in the White Mtns after the rodeo fire and OMG!!!!!

    • Hi Joy, no, many people don’t understand. And I confess that the border wars were not a major concern of mine before I moved here. Now I think everyone should be aware of what’s going on. It annoys me when I see BP agents portrayed as redneck bastards in movies or the media. HARDLY.

      I have yet to drive up to the Huachucas but I’m going to have to because I feel obligated to see and photograph it. It won’t be an easy trip and I’ve been avoiding it. Now the all the people in the valley have to worry about flooding because there’s nothing to stop the monsoon rains, which have begun. The forest animals are gone—right before monsoon which was the best time of year in the forest. They have (had) babies and seek the pools of water. The damage from these fires lasts for many years. And yet still, now that it’s out, officials dare not say who started it. It’s that kind of politics that piss people off.

      Thank you for volunteering at your local shelter. You’re an angel. Thanks for writing.

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