This I Believe

Maryanne - East Lansing (Bath), Michigan
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: democracy

It is not always clear what one believes, and especially not for a middle child from a large family full of many opinions and points of view. Something about that position in a family lends itself to finding the middle ground, the center road, the place of give and take. It is at best a welcome compromise in a testy situation, it is at worst a source of irritation from those who demand sides be taken.

But I believe that this country was built on compromise. I believe that the far right and the far left are what makes this country strong, but that one cannot work without the other – it is what a democracy is built on.

My politics tend to the liberal side, but I strive to understand what my conservative friends base their opinions on. I am fascinated by the commonalities of those with different opinions than myself and have come to believe that most people are more in the center than they would ever dare admit.

It is a source of general irritation to some of my friends that I challenge some of their opinions and beliefs as closed minded and dogmatic. No better, dare I say, no less judgmental than those on the extreme right (or left), as the case may be. Oh this gets them going!

I believe that history proves me right. When we look back, really look at our past; our politics have always swung back and forth. It is inevitable and predictable; and as corny as it may sound, it is the epitome of the greatness of democracy.

Believing in the middle ground does not mean I am without an opinion at all. I can get as riled as the next gal, I am outspoken and love writing a good letter to the editor of the local paper if so moved. Tell me your God is on your side and no one else’s and I am in your face because my God does not limit love or forgiveness – but I believe in your right to disagree with me.

I believe I am very lucky to live in this country, but that it is often a flawed and misguided place that needs to hear protests from both sides. The only way to heal, make things better for all, to move forward and continue to help each other is to listen and to hearand find the middle ground.