It’s done. The elections are over (except in Florida). We survived another test of our democracy and it’s a new day. Some people are jumping for joy. Others are angry.

Now we move forward/backward as a country.

That / is where I live. Call it what you will, a slant, a solidus, a stroke, or a virgule – I just call it home. This is where the Independents in this country live. We don’t see the world or every political shift as being automatically good or evil. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other.

In a world increasingly under the spell of tribalism, there is now a staunch left that matches the staunch right. Neither side agrees with or even listens to the other side. It’s all their way or the highway and in this highway world of theirs, someone must lose.

Me, I’m in the middle somewhere. On some issues, I am very conservative. On others, very liberal. I don’t see the world or issues in terms of black and white. It’s all a lovely shade, or should I say shades, of gray. Best of all, I never let myself become consumed by politics and I never have to shun someone who doesn’t see the world the way I do.

I didn’t start out this way. I was pretty conservative as a young man. I voted for Ford and Reagan. I was on Rep. Jack Cunnigham’s Citizen Advisory Board. I still have the certificate.

As I finished college, I became more liberal, but only liberal enough to move me to the center, where I have been since. For example, in presidential elections, I have voted Republican four times, Democrat five, and Independent, once.

When I returned to Washington State, the Driver’s License agent asked me how I wanted to register. She said, “Democrat or Republican?” I said, “Is there another choice?” She then told me I could register as an Independent but I couldn’t vote in the Presidential Primary. I can live with that. So I am officially an Independent.

Does that mean I don’t stand for anything? No.

I will stand for the American flag¬†unless something tells me I have to if I’m a real American. I put Freedom of Speech above all, but warn others that free price comes at a price. I support the Second Amendment but think good sense means we should place some limitations on the right to own a weapon. I don’t think we need to be selling assault rifles. But I don’t think it should be illegal to own existing ones as long as you aren’t a felon, mentally ill or a child.

I am pro-choice or pro-life. I really can’t remember which is which, frankly. All I know is that I don’t have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. That said, I am not a huge fan of abortion, but I have never had to make that difficult choice, so who knows what my answer would be. I believe most men have assaulted a woman sexually at some point in their lives. A “no” has never been a “yes.”

I am for a strong military. I think veterans who serve overseas should get free education and medical care for life. I’m glad they are out there keeping us free. Career desk jockeys at the Pentagon? You shouldn’t get the same goody bag as those who put their lives at risk when they’re deployed.

I don’t get the wall. With modern technology, we could do it with lasers, sensors and drones if we wanted to keep the border safe. That said, we fear all immigrants unnecessarily these days and unfairly demonize them, even when they’re legal.

I believe the government should be there for those who fall through the cracks. My father died when he was 56, leaving my mother destitute. Without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps, she wouldn’t have made it to the ripe old age of 88. Alternately, I don’t think you should be able to suck off the system for life if you are able to work. Welfare should be for a limited time while you get the training and help you need to enter the workforce, but the government needs to provide that training.

That said, I don’t believe anyone is entitled to a free ride. I pay taxes. I have been unemployed for a total of three months out of a career that has spanned 36 years. I have worked hard to get where I am today. Don’t sell me a pity party because something bad happened in your life. I am the poster child of bad things happening.

I think women should be paid the same as men and they should have equal access to the executive suite. I’m not sure they should be able to use the same bathroom I am using as the same time. Even Kat and I don’t use the bathroom at the same time, except when in teeth brushing mode.

I don’t judge people by the color of their skin or their sexual choices, but I understand there is still racism and discrimination in this country. There is also white privilege. For me, there are only two kinds of people in my world: assholes and non-assholes. If you are an asshole, I won’t give you the time of day. Otherwise, we’re good.

I always believe that better days are still ahead of us. I don’t live in the “sky is falling neighborhood on Facebook. I don’t Tweet, largely because 144 or 288 characters aren’t enough to say anything worth sharing. Just look at the guy in the White House. ‘Nough said.

I don’t think the government needs to be involved be telling you what you can do within the confines of your own home. If you are doing no harm to another person in your house or anyone outside of it, go for it. Enjoy life. If that means building a trapeze over your bed,¬†lighting up or sleeping with your pet goat, Peppy, have at it!

Finally, I think we have raised a bunch of weak-minded kids who don’t have the tools they need to succeed in this world. We have all rewarded participation over actual achievement, we coddle kids when we should be stern, and we spoil the child because we’re afraid DSHS is going to take away our rod.

So there you go, life in the middle of the road. It’s a pretty nice place to be. Except when two cars are coming toward you from either direction and there’s a Democrat in one and a Republican in the other.

In the Emerald City, stuck in the middle with deux,

  • Robb