Hoo boy. Where to start? I can say that writing current events for Pub Quiz this week was real easy.
I’ve been hearing a lot of “meet in the middle” / “bridge the gap” talk lately (at the Posse Plus Retreat and in general). Calls to be compassionate, specifically to those who support Trump’s administration (is there a better way to put it?) I hear about the Middle Ground but jeez. What do you even mean? I suppose I can only speak for myself but I think I’ve been in The Middle. How much deeper am I expected to go, because we’re close to “hey, be tolerant to people Who Literally Hate Your Guts.”
But back to “The Middle”: I don’t want to be kitschy or go overboard with this but bear with me anyway. Trevor Noah points out that a black person protesting in the streets is called a riot, but at the same time, taking a knee is still too much. Chimamanda Adichie points out that girls are told to be ambitious, but not too ambitious, to be successful, but not too successful. Immigrants are demonized for “stealing jobs” and in the same breath they’re ridiculed for the jobs they have. When queer people want representation, we’re told, “do it yourself,” and when we do, they say, “what’s all this gay shit” (pulled from @glittervolt). PoC are told that they have to work extra hard to succeed, to be taken seriously, but when we make it we hear people whispering “they don’t actually deserve to be here.” Be good, adhere to being a Model Minority but accept that you might not be able to re-enter the country because Why Not.
People talk about compromise but I only see marginalized people compromising themselves and their lives. Meanwhile people tweet “um actually sweatie, you shouldn’t punch Nazis.”
I don’t get it! “Meet in the middle.” Listening and being compassionate is important, obviously. But who are we always asking to be these things? (Resistance is already a part of how some people just survive their daily lives.)
I don’t think I have the time or the patience for this version of Meeting In The Middle anymore. I mean, I do, because I have to. But I don’t and I don’t even have the worst of it. How we talk about “middle ground” isn’t sustainable. And maybe the most affronting thing about it is that it isn’t compelling (i.e., it’s boring). I don’t think any of this is revelatory. Others have already put into words but it’s bubbling up in realer ways because of our current culture.
“So what are you going to do?” To some extent I want to roll my eyes at the people who puff up and advise you to “DO something,” with an emphasis on “do” as if they somehow know for a fact you’ve been doing nothing. But hey, we should do something. We need different people for different things, and we all have our strengths. I wish I could be elegant and fiery, but hey, I’m more suited for this stuff and what the kids call “creative direct action.” The point: we don’t have to be all bark / no bite.
I digress. I was talking to my friend about this, and she said “Meeting in the middle is weak, how about you meet me in the pit.” Yeah. Now we’re talking. If I can’t convince you that I’m a person, or that my friends are people worth protecting, just meet me in the pit for an ass-kicking. I hear they’re playing Beyoncé’s latest hit, ‘Pray You Catch [These Hands]’ ft. Most Of The World.