January 19, 2017
Tomorrow is the inaugural of a new President – conducted in a sea of anger and ignorance. Too bad.
In our local paper, yesterday, was a letter to the editor that was relevant, brilliant and worth sharing as a Michael’s Think Piece. The author is a former deputy who had won a medal for valor, but criticized by a colleague for being stupid by risking his life. So he asks “when do we cross the line from being brave to taking on too much? And when are we so obsessed with safety that we become cowardly?” (Think of today’s policeman.) He found an answer from Aristotle who wrote “bravery, like all virtues, is found in the middle between cowardice and recklessness.”
Think of this in the context of today’s political climate where we are increasingly pushed to extremes. From the right, perhaps represented by the Tea Party and the likes of Sean Hannity, there is a conviction for individual freedom and liberty. From the left, perhaps represented best by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and MSNBC commentators, the conviction is for equality. The author says, and I agree: “Both concepts have their worth but when pushed to extremes, the results are anarchy or communism.”
We, as a nation, have been moving to the extremes for so long that I have lost hope in our future. We have already reached a model of governance that is unacceptable to me. I guess that’s because I find myself in the middle – between the extremes. But the middle is difficult to describe. The English language can be misleading as Bush the First found out when he said: “Know new taxes.” (Joke).
I ask: Can the knowledge that extremes are dangerous and undesirable be of some value and provide motivation toward the middle, for compromise and balance? Do enough people think that it is time to accept political middle ground as a worthy goal – a balance between freedom and equality? The author concludes with the words: “The middle is the only place where harmony can ultimately exist in politics.”