I think my interest in writing started with me looking in the mirror … no, not figuratively, but literally.
Beginning in secondary school, I suffered with severe facial acne. Socially, it was a non-starter. As a result, you learned to become withdrawn … invisible … shunning any kind of attention, which was usually negative. Like the time someone threw my school books on the floor because they wanted my desk, but mostly they did it because they could.
Fast forward to when you’re an adult and it explains how you see things. Initially, you are sensitive to life’s underdogs. Secondly, you remembered those rare individuals who looked you straight in the eye to see you … the real you … not some caricature of someone’s imagination. The silver lining, later in life, was that you were less likely to prejudge situations or people. Being an observer of life, you try to appreciate both sides of an issue.
This wasn’t always easy growing up in a family that tended to take extreme positions on everything.
“But all I’ve ever learned from love/ was how to shoot someone who outdrew you” – Halleluiah by Leonard Cohen
I learned quickly that when you express your own deeply held beliefs and values you better be knowledgeable and be prepared, and to expect an equally strong and passionate pushback from the other side. Like the gun fights you heard about in the “wild west”, you had to shoot down the other person before they shot you.
‘Argy-bargy’ doesn’t quite cover it. My problem was I just wasn’t into guns, but original and creative ideas fascinated me.
So, as you opt to the middle ground, you learn to listen, asking intelligent questions to, hopefully, get informed answers. You’re trying to appreciate the other side, better understanding where they’re coming from and encouraging them to do the same, in return.
“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” – Wayne Dyer
My dad used to say that many a hot argument was cooled by cold facts. Otherwise, you might just be missing something that is actually valid and potentially useful.
Seeing the political gridlock in Washington, we realize the real need for moderates; they have real power because everyone is courting their vote. They are the true leaders of reason.
“I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
In fact, many of the world’s strongest advocates, like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela developed strong beliefs and fought hard to make changes through peaceful means. I also see them ultimately acting as peacemakers between their cause and the extremists among their own supporters, to allow for compromise – the highest degree of democratic values.
“Mother Mary comes to me/ Speaking words of wisdom, let it be – Let It Be by The Beatles