Baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle, baby?
I’m losing my mind just a little
So why don’t you just meet me in the middle, middle?
In the middle, middle.
Every time this song comes up on my 7-year-old daughter’s playlist, I want to stick an ice pick down my ear canal to kill the worm I know will now be squiggling around in my brain all day, forcing me to mumble-sing “in the middle, in the middle.” And I am not even sure an ice pick would be effective in the killing of said worm, as it is a powerful and relentless force, unwilling to release you from its message of meeting … in the middle … baby. In the middle… in the middle.
I am quite certain the CIA has added this tune to its torture playlist, along with “Enter Sandman” and the “Barney” theme song, which, according to my top-secret sources inside the agency, are also on this list. I get “Barney,” but I’m not really sure why “Enter Sandman” is. It still rocks!
Anyway, ear worminess aside, I have been thinking perhaps this song should actually serve as a new national anthem of sorts. With our country as polarized as it has ever been with lines drawn seemingly everywhere between red/blue, Republican/Democrat, left/right, liberal/conservative, rich/poor, old/young, urban/suburban (and there are even subsets within each of these sides creating even more boundaries between us), maybe it finally it is time for us all to meet each other in the middle … baby. In the middle.
It is time, indeed, but I am not naïve enough to believe it will actually happen.
Though I believe “the middle” is where an overwhelming silent majority falls in this country, we don’t speak up, and we have given our country over to the fringe.
And fringe just ain’t cute on anything, not curtains, not lamps, not even on country western shirts with mother-of-pearl buttons. And it certainly isn’t desirable in political parties.
But fringe, as hideous as it is, is now running the show. And the hysteria and insanity exhibited by the extremes on both sides is largely responsible for the schisms in this country now.
It is has just become too easy to vilify the other side and spend our time watching our cable news networks of choice so we can hate on whoever the other side’s villain du jour is, whether it’s AOC or DJT.
And when you get lost in this 24-hour news cycle, it is even easier to forget that, really, no matter our party or address, we all ultimately want the same things.
We all want good jobs so we can take care of our families. We all want our children to get good educations and go to college or learn a trade or become a rock star or whatever they want, and be able to live better lives than we have lived ourselves. We all want to be able to have access to quality health care and afford the medicine we need. None of us wants to see another life lost to this opioid crisis. We all just want to be … safe. We all just want to be … happy.
We just have different ideas on how to get there. And if we could stop screaming at each other for just a minute and meet each other in the middle, the middle, we could work together to figure out these very complicated, no-one-right-answer problems, baby.
But we won’t meet each other in the middle, in the middle, because neither party really wants moderates anymore. They are too busy performing purity tests on their own candidates. If you aren’t right enough or left enough, you just aren’t enough for your base.
We will see this in the presidential race and right here in Alabama, as the 2020 GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Doug Jones heats up.
In fact, we are already seeing it. Rep. Bradley Byrne is the only candidate to have officially announced so far, and he is running further to the right than I have ever seen him run in any of his previous races. He has clearly learned that being a reasonable human being and moderate voice doesn’t win you elections in ‘Bama and has made the calculation to get out there early and play the Trump-et as loudly as he can. When another serious Republican candidate gets in the race, like, say, a Del Marsh, they will have to see who can out-Trump each other and be the Trumpiest.
Such is life in a red state, but it happens the same way on the flip side, too.
In blue states, they will battle it out to see who is the Green New Dealiest.
Sadly, it’s just the way it works now. And I hate we are losing moderate voices left and right, both on the left and right.
Because this country really would be a much better, happier place if we could meet each other in the middle, in the middle.
But, sadly, we’ve all lost our minds (more than) just a little.
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