Don’t Underestimate the One in the Middle

2017 - 8 - 12

So I learned where Guam is this week. This is ridiculous that my president is inspiring me to learn geography. He has provoked Kin Jong-un to aim his missiles at the U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, which is within easy reach of North Korea’s current arsenal. Listening to experts debate whether our leader is by-passing diplomacy to employ the “Mad Man” strategy or if he actually is crazier than Kim Jong-un has caused me to throw my hands up in the air. I surrender my hope that someone will successfully instruct Mr. Trump on appropriate international engagement, or at least muzzle him and take his tweeter away.

For my own sanity, I have to stop thinking about my leader’s ability to cause me to die in a nuclear war and I have to start focusing on more constructive things, like Election Day 2020. I’m no politician, but right now I wish I was because I would set my sights on winning the presidential race with a new strategy. I lack the people skills necessary to become a politician, and typically, political games are for people who enjoy being part of a team. All of the people skills in my family went to my conservative older brother and my liberal younger sister. Growing up in the middle of a spectrum of opinions, I learned to listen and relate to all viewpoints for the sake of peace. I suspect that my birth order in my family has a great deal to do with why I’m politically Independent as an adult.

What I’m about to state will possibly not be regarded as a popular viewpoint, but I accepted long ago that the one who stands in the middle is a good potential target of criticism and contempt from both sides. I also realized that it often takes a long time for other people to even hear what I’m saying from the middle – maybe because the acoustics are just naturally bad there, or maybe because it’s human nature for people to assess the placement of others before they’ll even consider listening to them. It may not be a popular viewpoint, yet, but I’m used to it taking others a long time to come around to my perspective. I’m okay with that. Us independent middle children tend to “know” when we’re right and don’t need anyone’s approval.

What I lack in human interaction skills, I more than make up for with observational skills. I excel at people watching and making predictions. While some conservatives and liberals have been aligning with their tribes so they can collectively put their energy into slinging mud at the other side, I’ve been watching and taking notes. What I see is that from both sides there is so much negative energy being aimed at the other side that the political pendulum has no choice but to move toward the center. And that is where I believe the energy to get our country moving forward can be found. What would make Americans unite and generate positive energy is for an Independent candidate to jump on the end of the pendulum and start moving it in a completely new direction. Bernie Sanders attempted to do that with his presidential campaign, but didn’t quite have the charisma needed to gain enough momentum as an Independent so he ran as a Democrat. But he still didn’t have enough charisma as a Democrat to get the required tribal support.

Generally speaking, people are tribal because it is human nature to gravitate toward where we think people agree with us. For Independents, having people agree with us doesn’t hold much value and alliances don’t distract us. This leaves us free to focus on promoting peace, working together, creating solutions to the issues that matter to us. Unfortunately, a peaceful nature often causes qualified Independent people to lack the pizazz that tribal people gravitate to. Other Independents will listen to a non-schmoozy Independent, but many of today’s Republicans and Democrats will need a good hook before they’ll take time out from attacking the other side and become aware of a peaceful voice in the middle. If a charismatic Independent could listen to the people on their right and people on their left and make them feel their concerns are heard, they would be likely to get the majority of support in the next election. Perhaps future presidential success will be found in a current Republican or Democratic politician who has natural charisma but abandons their party to take up the Independent cause of doing what is best for the country.

Yes, I am focused on an Independent president being elected in 2020 that will swing the political pendulum in a new – and non-nuclear – direction.



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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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