Silver Lining: on being a middle of the road person

November 6, 2014

on being a middle of the road person

Earlier this week, Sam and I were talking about articles we had seen on Facebook recently. Why All About that Bass is a break-through positive message for women everywhere. Why All About that Bass is a negative, body-shaming message for women everywhere. What controversial topic Matt Walsh was totally right about today. What controversial topic Matt Walsh was totally wrong about today. Why Frozen is so morally good. Why Frozen is so morally bad.

It goes on and on. And here's the thing: I'm a middle of the road person. I'm not the type of person that will get in your face (or on my computer screen) and yell at you about what you should or shouldn't believe, like, support, or vote for. In fact, half the time, I believe both sides of the issue. It's really easy for me to see both pros and cons of something.

Part of this I attribute to my upbringing. I was raised in liberal Portland, Oregon, I've spent almost my entire adult life in conservative Provo, Utah. It's a unique political combination that gives me insights into both sides of an issue. If we're talking about same-sex marriage, I'm thinking about real gay parents that I've known, not just hypotheticals. If we're talking about gun control, I'm thinking about people I know why carry guns daily, not just hypotheticals. If we're talking about a government-implemented school program, I'm thinking about my actual experience with the program as a teacher, not just hypotheticals. (Apparently hypotheticals isn't a real word, but I think it should be, so I'm using it :)

I remember in ninth grade when I learned about the political spectrum in social studies. My teacher drew the spectrum on the board and labeled different parties - left-wing liberals, right-wing conservatives, etc. She then drew a box around a very small portion in the middle of the spectrum and told us that the large majority of Americans' political beliefs fall right here in the middle. I am one of those Americans.

Middle of the road people can be refreshingly calm and fair in a world that's quick to take sides and yell at the other side. As a teacher, being in the middle of the road when interacting with students is almost invaluable. If a child has a claim about something that happened at recess, middle-of-the-road people can objectively look at the point of view of all children involved without jumping on the kid who is most likely to have done something bad. Middle of the road people go by the motto that you should always hear both sides of the story and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But I've also heard a lot of negatives about middle of the road people. What do you think? Does being in the middle of the road politically mean that I'm brainwashed, or apathetic, or incapable of bringing about social change? If I'm not an extremist, does that mean I'm not taking full advantage of the political freedom we are blessed with in America? 

There are some issues that I feel extremely strongly about (just ask my husband, who has to hear all my rants). But as a middle of the road person in general, I believe that more than one person has a correct point of view, and I can see elements of truth in multiple theories and rationales. It also means I'm the super annoying person who's always agonizing about answers on surveys (well, if they mean in general, then yes, I definitely agree. But if they're talking about this one specific instance, then I would have to say slightly disagree...) haha.

Are you a middle of the road person politically? If you are, do you view that as a positive or a negative?

In a semi-unrelated issue: let's all stop writing scathing rebuttals to every new song, movie, blog post and opinion we see online. Okay? Okay. Lets disagree kindly and respectfully so we can promote positive and effective conversation. Or maybe I just need to click on less articles I see on Facebook ;)


  1. I feel the exact same way! Great writing, as always!

  2. I feel the same way about all of the above-portland does a soul good, and so does super conservative mormon communities! I think that's the best part about being in the middle though-being sympathetic and understanding both sides.

  3. I always feel the same way.... and it can be difficult to find people that relate.

  4. I used to see myself as a middle of the road person. I absolutely was as a teacher and I agree that the truth is somewhere in the middle. I am also, however, very black and white on a LOT of things. It makes me feel weird that I can sometimes be inconsistent but I don't feel that you have to be any one thing. I have a post in drafts about this... How I am not going to paint myself into a corner with labels. I feel that being unashamed of who you are is the only way to make REAL change.


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