Meet Me In the Middle?

middle-road

Thought for the Week

During the contentious–and by some, still contended–national election my country just came through, I was repeatedly prodded to “take a stand!” i.e. to swing either far to the left far to the right. But I did take a stand — in the middle. Why? Because I’ve learned that when people veer far to the left or far to the right, they end up in the gutter–a place of stagnation and decay. And that’s not where I want my country, or myself, to end up.

So, what’s the alternative? It’s reaching out and connecting with the people on the opposite side of the road. It even has a name: compromise.* Yes, I know it sounds wishy-washy. But it’s not. In fact…

Compromise is the heart of democracy. Rule by those who’ve managed to gain temporary control is not democracy, it’s arithmocracy. In such a system, those who’ve “won” rule, and the others have no real say. But then the others invariably rise up and wrench back control, producing a constant lurching from one extreme to other, resulting in what I call gutterocracy — stagnation and decay.

That’s not what I want. You? And, no, I’m not wishy-washy, thank you very much! There are, in fact, some issues I care very deeply about. In fact, I think I’m a rather radical moderate! And if you don’t like that, well…(deep breath)…

Let’s meet in the middle and talk about it.

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

*Note: I am referring to the Oxford Dictionary’s primary definition of the verb compromise, meaning to “settle a dispute by mutual concession,” not the secondary usage of “to give in” or “lower one’s standards.”

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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42 Responses to Meet Me In the Middle?

  1. carolannec says:

    Perfect, calm insight.
    Children demand and try to control, adults compromise and find ways to make things work for everyone. It’s hard. But who promised the right way would be easy?
    Thank you for this.

    Liked by 10 people

    • wayocross says:

      I’ve volunteered in different ministries to men. And I’ve seen the immaturity in the men that need assistance of one kind or another. Being an adult and taking responsibility is not their thing – but manipulation is.

      Liked by 3 people

      • carolannec says:

        That a very interesting insight and I do recognise what you’re describing.
        We all acknowledge there are differences in style and approach between boys and girls however, I shy away from labelling whole genders one way. For instance, I’ve known some very manipulative women and some fab chaps who default to compromising.

        I do think compromising without losing ones point is a skill we have to learn and it often takes decades.

        Liked by 4 people

      • wayocross says:

        I was not labeling all men. But I was ministering to men who needed assistance because they had not been responsible.

        Like

  2. revruss1220 says:

    This recent election certainly tested the spirit of anyone who wanted to stay in the moderate middle, didn’t it? It was a test I don’t think I passed most of the time. But then I had to remind myself that my salvation and the salvation of the country does not depend on the success of the political left or the political right, but rather on the transformation of the hearts of all citizens by the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 9 people

  3. “Radical moderate” sounds a lot like a friend of mine who described himself as “staunchly middle-of-the-road.” I understand the sentiment, and most of the people I know on both sides have good intentions. I am happy to get along with them and mutually recognize that we have a difference of opinion. But if, as some believe, there is massive corruption going on, this is NOT something I want to compromise with.
    As you say, if one side wins the other side has no choice, and if corruption wins, the American people lose, and future elections mean nothing. I have no idea to what extent the country is rotting from within, but I’ve seen enough to know SOMETHING is not right. Scripture tells us that people are NOT naturally good, and we all are sinners. My prayer at this time is that IF there is massive voter fraud threatening our freedom, that those responsible will get caught and brought to justice. Not because I hate them and want them to pay – quite the opposite. If these people are caught and brought to justice in this life, there’s a possibility they will repent, turn to Christ, be reborn, and become magnificent “trophies of grace” for all the world to see! (Think Chuck Colson.) If they are allowed to believe they “got away with it,” they will most likely do it again, and without repentance they will still face judgment and justice eventually – in ETERNITY. And I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
    Jesus said to pray for our enemies, and I believe that’s what we should be doing now, whether our enemies are the accusers or the accused. (Since people who are investigating are getting threats to their lives and their families’ lives, I’d say they need our prayers, as well.)

    Liked by 7 people

    • carolannec says:

      I completely understand your point.
      If there is fraud it MUST be uncovered and dealt with. What troubles me is the following:
      1. Common sense: Why would hundreds of professionals risk their careers and face criminal proceedings? The claims circulated would implicate hundreds if not thousands of people of being complicit in criminal activities that would result in prosecution… what would make you risk that? Money? Extortion? Is it likely that so many people are making that decision, being paid sufficiently large bribes or being blackmailed and sticking ferociously to the story that they have done their jobs?

      2. Why does the “widespread fraud” not affect all states who used the same systems? Not one state that voted for Trump has been implicated as fraudulent. Not one. Not even those who used the Dominion system Trump’s team are claiming is not fit for purpose. So this awful, corrupt system worked in 15 states but miraculously broke where Trump didn’t win… yeah… I don’t buy that.

      3. Evidence. The US has been doing this democracy lark for quite some time and it does it well. You have: state level observers, federal oversight, a government department monitoring external interference and international observers. You have a defined judicial recourse in the event of disagreement. Every single observer has reported a clean, clear election process – one the US should be proud of! The courts are expediting hearings right left and centre – I’ve been following the hearings. Judges are listening and questioning both sides and they are ruling based on the evidence presented… mostly against Trump. Let me be clear here… it is never a legal strategy to withhold evidence until a higher court. Your appeal cannot be based on evidence you did not show a lower court because you have prevented that first judge from making a sound decision. Most appeal courts will kick cases with extra evidence back down to the first tier except in exceptional circumstances. So the mountain of evidence alluded to should have now been submitted to courts… and it has not materialised.

      All of this should take place, the US has these checks and balances all built in for a reason! It is a good system, diverse, logical, and based on checks, balances and EVIDENCE!
      Please trust the system.

      On a lighter note… be assured by the view of the international observers, for this election were German – blunt efficiency is their national trait. Italians you can distract with baby pictures, French with bad food, Germans? Nah ah… they are implacable! Lol

      Liked by 6 people

  4. I used to be in the middle and I still am in some ways, because I don’t like either ditch. This guy finally told me, “you know what collects in the middle of the road? Roadkill.” It appealed to my dark sense of humor. Also, this does explain why you are constantly dodging speeding cars from all sides!.

    Alas, I spent about 30 years believing we can all just work together and let’s compromise and what eventually happened is that I simply became the one doing all the compromising until everything I believed in, everything that made me who I was, was gone. I was literally standing before my boss on day who was explaining to me that my tiny cross made some people uncomfortable and so out of compassion, out cooperation, could I just not wear it to work? Keep in mind, everyone had nose rings, lips rings, tattoos, but it was my little cross that was allegedly bothering people. There was no melodramatic resistance, I nodded in complete agreement, took it off and put it in my purse, fully convinced that the needs of others were more important than my own.

    And than I had a melodramatic collapse, quit my job, quit my friends who demanded my constant compromise, and repented of having forgotten that I really mattered too, that the Lord had made a tremendous investment in me, and all this constant capitulation to the wants and desires of others dishonored Him and caused m to lose my own self.

    That women who always tried to hold hands and sing kumbaya is gone now and I don’t want her back, I don’t want to play the game anymore. People who want you to stand in the middle of road are not seeking relationship or compromise, they are looking for roadkill.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. For many years I’ve called myself part of the radical middle. I’m with you.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. gpavants says:

    Mitch,

    I hear you. I feel that as Proverbs say, the man who pleases the Lord avoids all extremes. As believers we can walk between the world and its divisive issues. Remind people that the Lord draws, heals, and unifies others as He draws them back to the center. As the world spins faster and faster, like a merry-go-round it’s safer in the center and less likely to loose our cookies or fly off the ride.

    In Christ,

    Gary

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Gail Perry says:

    My hubby had a thought today that’s kind of related. What would happen if we all prayed for the broken people in our world, that they could receive God’s healing? He was referring to a specific broken person who has been the source of many of the expressions of extreme right and left in the US. But if we lifted all those who hold extreme vews up in prayer, do you think we might all meet closer to the middle? ❤🇨🇦

    Liked by 6 people

  8. wayocross says:

    It’s the characterization of the other person’s motives that put me over the top. And both sides do it. Is the average citizen losing control – Yes. Frustrating!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. uncoffined says:

    I think the politics in the USA are highly divisive and therefore potentially very destructive.
    Having said that, I don’t think you need to accept the narrative that there are two only sides and you must choose one of them.
    There are always smaller parties out there, with no hope of getting in, but if their policies fit with your philosophies, then that is a good thing.
    I would suggest that one should be true to themselves and God first, and that you don’t have to pick a side or get involved in politics at all.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Rightly disappointed by the conduct and result of the Dem primary in 2016, many progressives went third party rather than suck it up and support Clinton, at least in the contested states.  Such defections may have tipped the general election.  (See Appendix D in *Brown is the New White* by S. Phillips.)  I prefer to follow the advice in another excellent book (*We Are Indivisible* by L. Greenberg & E. Levin): vote your heart in the primary and your head in the general.

      Politics is less about feeling pure than about choosing who will drive a bus we all must ride in.  Those who dismiss supporting the lesser of two evils as “the evil of two lessers” are among those responsible for the choice of driver made in 2016:

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I pray for our country and our political leaders. I vote. I follow the news and pray some more. Beyond that, I leave politics to the politicians. As Christ told Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Praise God for that!

    If that’s called being middle of the road, then count me in, brother Mitch. My focus and my hope are on God’s kingdom. If anyone can point to a place in the Bible where Jesus and His disciples got all involved in politics, please tell me. ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Steven Buehler says:

    “I’ve learned that when people veer far to the left or far to the right, they end up in the gutter–a place of stagnation and decay.” —That needs to be tattooed somewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Pingback: Meet Me In the Middle? – Black6entertainment

  13. When I hear the word compromise —at least in the way you meant it—I think of the term “Coexist.”

    In the memorable words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?” Perhaps not, but I refuse to throw the first stone.

    Robert Frost is my kind of guy:

    “So when at times the mob is swayed
    To carry praise or blame too far
    We may choose something like a star
    To stay our minds on and be staid.”

    The “star” I choose is God, who is always the same.

    Blessings.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Pingback: Up – Relax..

  15. I can relate. I call this “holding the tension between the opposites,” not an easy place to be. Thanks for posting your thoughts :}

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Dr. Ernie says:

    You sound very much like a Radical Centrist:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_centrism

    (Yes, it’s a thing, but not as big as it was back in 2004)

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Rocky says:

    I like your self defined position of “radical moderate” Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Once there showed up a quiz on Facebook asking question to determine whether you are more liberal or conservation. I landed square in the middle. Exactly what I expected. I agree with you. Great blog!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Ann Coleman says:

    Exactly! I get so tired of being told that if you don’t stand for the extreme left or extreme right (and honestly, what’ the difference? Both groups think they have a monopoly on truth and moral superiority, and that their “ends” are so noble that they justify any and all “means.” Which is downright scary.) Our country keeps lurching from one end to the other, with the elected officials completely ignoring the half of the country that did not vote for them, and then being surprised when they get voted out of office a few years later. Talking to those who believe differently is a good thing. So is compromise. So is a government that is composed of people who don’t all believe the same way, as that would actually represent out country. But I doubt I’ll live to see it, sadly. Still, it helps to know that I’m not the only one who stands firmly in the middle…left on some things, right on others, and undecided on a few!

    Liked by 5 people

  20. feistyfroggy says:

    “Clowns to the left of me,
    Jokers to the right, here I am,
    Stuck in the middle with you…”

    Liked by 5 people

  21. “Arithmocracy” is a great coinage.  Hope it catches on.  The authors of the US Constitution were mindful of the danger posed by letting any temporary majority do whatever it favors, no matter how badly it tramples the minority’s rights.  They used misleading phrases like “mob rule” (or “democracy” uttered sneeringly) to describe this danger, as they cobbled together ways to inhibit arithmocracy w/o lapsing into autocracy.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Someone just left a comment on my post today that I found very insightful, describing a picture of a seesaw. That we would gently enjoy the ride of back and forth movements in relationship to each other, as an ideal way to have differences. I am not doing it justice, but it can be found here (Christina’s comment): https://feedingonjesus.com/2020/12/09/deep-heart-unity/ I thought it was very well expressed.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Gina Cash says:

    A refreshing and reasonable voice amid the chaos! Thanks for that. And I like this new term “arithmocracy.”

    Liked by 3 people

  24. K.L. Hale says:

    ❤️ I have a post about being “in the middle”. I value your wisdom, insight, and inspiration. Your post is so relatable as always. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Glen Bowe says:

    I wish more people in your country, and to a lesser extent mine, would seek out the middle. Extremes are never healthy, not for governments, not for people, and not for sports (I thought I would squeeze that one in there just for fun).

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Very insightful post and now does seem to be the time for compromise…. I agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Refreshing to see more who understand the problems with always subscribing to the extreme one way or another. Thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

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