Can there ever be some kind of middle-mindset where liberals and conservatives might find agreement?  Or at least acceptance for their differences? Where far-left and far-right absolutists are seen for what they are? Can’t there be a middle-ground where true virtue lives, working to build a world that encourages individuality while recognizing diversity? Looking out for the “greater good” instead of personal interests?
     Just because one thinks one is right does not have to mean others are wrong; just because one knows how the world should be run does not have to mean there is no other way or possibility.
     There is nothing quite as dangerous as a narrow mind, especially when it has power to impose itself on others.  Nothing is quite as distorting as eyes so close together they cannot focus on anything beyond the tip of the nose between them. Not that one’s narrowness misses the truth, or at least pieces of it, but that it makes the truth convenient for one’s own purposes.
     What is so alluring about a black-and-white mindset? Ours is a Technicolor world, after all. A black-and-white perspective, even when push comes to shove, tends to find only shades of gray – and those reluctantly. How does such a mind function when dealing with the 3D Technicolor epic of our country’s economic crisis?
     The happenings in Washington these past weeks – and all through this recession – have been shameful. Un-American, even in the eyes of this idealist. Isn’t the common good one of the foundation stones of democracy, even of the Republic? Doesn’t the recession belong to all of us? Isn’t it our problem, our doing? So why can’t our representatives find a way out instead of traipsing through a maze of hidden agendas and blatantly personal interests? Why does it have to take a tragedy like 9/11 to have all of Congress gather on the steps of the Capitol to sing the same tune?
     A narrow mind may have its payoffs for anyone who has one, i.e., a straight and narrow path toward righteousness, but it only offers frustration – and sometimes abuse – to those who suffer its consequences. Party politics play an important part in our government, to be sure. But when a problem belongs to all of us, partisan finger-pointing and posturing do nothing to solve it.
     Congress does not need to gather to sing “The Whiffenpoof Song” to get the job confronting them done. Perhaps all they need to do is amputate the nose between their eyes that sports a tattoo that says November “2012!”