It’s awful lonely here in Centerville, sandwiched between the left and the right. There used to be quite a few of us, but some hard lines have been drawn in the sand in the last four years. They call me names, like Wishy-washy and No-guts, but I just can’t buy what the major parties are selling anymore.
The progressives are determined to put the country on a Bataan-like death march to what they call “sustainability” and “social justice”. They demand massive amounts of investments to get us off of the fossil fuel train. Now I’m for renewables as much as the next guy, but I’m enough of a realist to understand that solar and wind ain’t gonna get us there unless we cover half the country with panels and wind farms. (And of course, no one wants them anywhere near where they live, and the environmentalists go into fits at the thought of covering Mama Gaia with ugliness.) They crusade against the rich, and want to remake capitalism into a safe haven for permanent living-wage jobs. But without consumerism and risk-takers with cash to buy and invest, what kind of jobs will there be for the future?
I agree with the conservatives on the need to pay our bills and self-reliance, but that’s about it. Too many religious wackos and warmongers for my tastes.
There are Greens and Libertarians, but they tend to be even more stuck in Fantasyland than the Establishment parties.
I hear a lot of loose talk about secession, since the current stalemate has made the country virtually ungovernable, and I often wonder which of these brave new worlds I could fit into. Flee to Canada? Mexico? I think not.
So I guess I’ll just have to stay here and keep complaining, and if the country breaks up I’ll just head for the hills and live in a cave. (My wife is saying “WHAT?…I’m not living in a stinking cave!”)
Like I said, it’s awful lonely here in the middle.
Years ago we again went through Panamint Valley on a camping trip, and stopped in the ruins of Ballarat, the valley’s once teeming commercial center that served the mines in the Panamint Mountains. Today Ballarat is a ghost town inhabited by one lone and crusty resident who has a collection of hats reading ‘Mayor’, ‘Police Chief’, … , ‘Dog Catcher’ which he wears when someone comes into his meager ‘general store’ (he lives in a trailer out back). But his willingness to stick it out as Panamint Valley’s last hardy resident in the middle of a bleak valley with its obligatory salt lake at the low point also sends a message of resilience and purpose
Keep hanging in there Bob, we can all use you as the Middle Marker when calibrating our ideological compasses. The only thing I’d ask of you in the interval is to keep adding to the list of things that you are, in addition to telling us about all the things that you are not. Ballarat is basically nowhere, it only has a sign telling people how far it is from different ‘somewheres’.
We all know what is in the middle of a butt crack. LOL! GO Bob!
You know I am just kidding.
This brings to mind one the best Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy passages, regarding Lizards and democracy. Thank you Douglas Adams, if you hadn’t died from smoking I’d still be buying your books:
[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship…]
“I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”
Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”
“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”
Ford shrugged again.
“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”
+1 Greg. Please note this accolade in case him and I get into it later.
And it’s not because they ask for gin. (which doesn’t hurt matters)
“… in case he and I…”
Their’s no issue hear.
I deliberately objectified Greg. 😉
Even “centrist” has become one of those forbidden words. A dog whistle for those who aren’t smart enough to “get with the program.” (Right or left, take your pick.)
I think it is less about being in the middle and more to do with being honest with ourselves. I am tired of arguing with both sides of the isle about their perceived political parties and how they both represent a small few at the expense of the many. On any given issue we all lean left or right one way or another.