I am sure some of you remember that I have complained numerous times that middle of the road politics seems dead in this country.
While most of us go along our merry way feeling right handed on this issue and left handed on another, and sometimes, heaven forbid, having no opinion at all on another issue, both ends of the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to convince us, yes at times even strong arming us to believe their point of view.
Sitting in a restaurant during my vacation one afternoon I heard a conversation between four different people in which the ends had the middle trapped in between them, literally.
It was one of the those fishy places along the Oregon coast, with circle booths. In one booth behind me were four guys talking about the war in Iraq. On the left side of the booth was a guy who was totally against the war. On the right side of the booth was another fella who just couldn't part with his love for the Bush policies in that country. In between the two of them was a couple that didn't seem to have much of an opinion, except that they wanted out of the swell of tuck and roll that engulfed them.
"How can you support such an immoral war?" said the guy on the left while he munched down his fish and chips. "Bush is leading us to destruction."
"It is a matter of principle," said the man on the right, who also was wearing a flag on the side of his truck drivers uniform. "We needed to go in there to rescue those people from Saddam and now we need to finish it. Besides," he said as he poked at the man portion of the trapped couple in the middle, "We had to get those guys back for the 9-11 attacks didn't we."
That sent the guy on the left off into a tizzy as he waved his arms around talking about how the White House has even proclaimed that the terrorists who did the 9-11 deed had no connection to Iraq. As he went into his tirade I think I saw at least three hairs on his middle aged beard turn gray.
While he was talking the lady next to him just kept looking straight forward toward the wall, eating her chicken tortellini. I think she was daydreaming about being somewhere else.
However, putting your head in the sand is not the way to avoid conflict when the left and right hand of the world are having an arm wrestling contest at your luncheon table. Soon both sides tried to draw the couple into the fight, obviously hoping superior numbers would win the argument for each of them.
"Don't you think the war we are in is immoral Linda?" the now more gray bearded man said.
The woman just sat there for a moment.
"I think all war is stupid, so I am not sure my opinion counts in this matter," she finally muttered.
This set both sides off even more. The left wing guy said if all war is wrong then this war must be wrong while the other man who was about to fall off his red leather seat was using hand signs to describe how some wars are justified, particularly this one.
The male half of the couple finally spoke up and told the two to knock it off, because both he and his wife were confused about the situation and didn't know what to think.
However, this statement, obviously carefully worded to diffuse the situation actually added gasoline to a very big fire. Both sides then proceeded to pour on the "facts" about their points of view. Each end of the bench now obviously sensed that the couple was ready for the kill by unleashing torrents of information upon them.
I was listening to this conversation with a turned ear as I was also trying to listen to my wife and our friend talk about what a great time we were having. They finally drew me out of my listening trance and said "Let's go."
I stood up and had to face the poor, muddled and middled couple as we left. The guy on the right had now moved onto social issues and the guy on the right was raving about a one world government. The couple each had three glasses of various kinds of wine in front of them. Probably to kill the pain.
I wanted to say something to them as I left, but instead I felt thankful.
Thankful that I wasn't in the middle of things once again.