i shudder when i hear the words “…and never the twain shall meet…”(rudyard kipling) in my head when i read this. but sue aikens’ words (on life below zero, she is a strong alaska-proof woman living in the arctic) were not a viewpoint on the polarization of our country. they were merely the way she was describing the ropes she sets outside her buildings so that in the middle of fierce snowstorms she will be able to find her way, despite not being able to see in the swirling snow.
in life – intellectual, emotional, political life – however, there is a middle ground. but it has become difficult in our current climate to sort to the middle, to not stand firmly on one side or the other of the great divide, a place that grows larger by the day, with an ever-brewing moat of hatred and vitriol, terrifyingly divisive to families, relationships, communities. there is danger on the far sides, danger in stubbornly and feverishly clinging to the left or the right, without considering ramifications, without any compassion, with an unbending dedication to absolutism, with no room or moment for thoughtful consideration, with breakneck righteous reactivity.
in sue aikens’ world, it will save her life to unconditionally sort left or sort right. in ours, it may destroy us.