This I Believe

Paul - PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island
Entered on July 10, 2007

This I Believe

I believe in the mushy middle. Once I attended a peace rally after seeing a ballet performance called Dracula the night before. I stayed at my girlfriends, who is now my lovely wife and drove home the next morning wearing my sport coat. Being part of the mushy middle means attending a peace protest in a suit and being looked at in askance. It means having doubts about wearing your mirrored aviator sunglasses. It also means questioning the persistence of reggae music at peace demonstrations, and wondering why the organizers wouldn’t play a Black Sabbath song called War Pigs just to change things up a bit.

I met a woman who recounted her extensive involvement in protests after learning my experience with them was nil. My belief in the mushy middle means not being involved in a protest situation that gets cordoned off so as not to offend, count on the media to accurately represent your numbers and not touch a pocketbook.

Believing in the mushy middle means to explain in sentences longer than most people care to listen. Being part of the mushy middle is to parse in both the flattering and unflattering sense of the word. Believing in the mushy middle means that if you work for an organization that is viewed as a threat, to discuss why it’s positive to have someone like me working in an organization who has sympathy for your views. Believing is the mushy middle is stripping the emotion out of decisions and creating policy based upon standards besides empathy for the victim or perpetrator. The mushy middle is restraining that gut feeling for a protest vote.

Believing is the mushy middle is pretending to yourself that you are an iconoclast. Being part of the mushy middle is unromantic. I long to shout out LONG LIVE THE … quiet considered negotiation of our present disagreement and not be greeted by stifled yawns. Opportunity exists for my belief in the mushy middle. One day, I may suddenly notice that the parameters have shifted and I am…. (Gasp!) an extremist and my iconic status will come tumbling down. Believing in the mushy middle means an endless conversation, which most of the time I think is good.