Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The View From This Seat

There are few things I enjoy more than baseball on a summer afternoon, making the pleasant hum of a Red Sox game my favorite summer soundtrack.  Late in the game, with a close score and runners on base, I love hearing the crack of a bat and knowing one of the good guys drilled "a line shot up the middle!"  That familiar phrase inevitably makes me stop what I'm doing and shush my family for silence.  The action is all around -  infielders diving left and right; the center fielder hurling the ball home;  runners bolting flat out for the plate with a brave catcher bracing for contact.  It's the best shot in baseball since it creates opportunity and so many players have a role in making something happen.  

In politics, the game-changing action is also straight up the middle. Compromise and coalition building occur in the middle of the spectrum, not on the sides -- and certainly not in the echo chambers that are the political parties themselves.  

I've worked in public affairs for more than twenty years for corporations, non-profits, associations, coalitions and candidates on both sides of the aisle.  I am a garden-variety Rhode Islander: an unaffiliated voter, a serial ticket-splitter and an enthusiastic Red Sox fan.

I have never thought much about my political identity until recently when my name appeared on Campaigns & Elections magazine's list of Rhode Islands top Republican  "influencers."  A tiny part of me was pleased that I made a "top" list while every other part of me is chilled by the idea that someone could assign a label to me that I had not chosen for myself.  And to be clear -- I would have had the same reaction to being labeled a Democrat.  Neither party has an ideological appeal to me and I find the extremism on both sides to be too confrontational and too divisive to be productive.

I see "Straight Up the Middle," as my own little ball field to talk about politics.  I hope that folks will stop by to take a look and chime in.  I'm sure that I'll whiff a few, but I'll try to keep it up the middle.


1 comment:

  1. I love it! I just had a conversation about this recently - no balance anymore amid the sides.