Finding the Middle Way

“I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.”

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman offers some healing words to consideron this day after mid-term elections.  Emotionsran high when we were fighting for candidates who carry our banner andrepresent out principles and ideals. Record numbers of us turned out to vote. Some of us are happy with the results and some of us aredisappointed.  What we do next to moveforward is very important.

Fighting the good fight is an American tradition.  There is a great story in the History of Knox County, Ohio in which my ancestor, James Houck accused one of his young neighbors of stealing a ‘scrap of bees’ at the fall social gathering where apples were being prepared for drying (called an apple-bee).

The pioneer custom was to either ‘take it back or take a licking’. Though a fist fight occurred, there was no resolution.  The next gathering would be on Election Day 1808 where all community scores could be settled.  There was an abundance of whisky and plenty of fights.  But at the end of the day, differences and quarrels were to be finalized.  I’m not suggesting a return to this kind of dispute settlement. What I am endorsing is that we put aside the partisan divisions and work together again. 

Pioneer Schoolboys Settle a Score

The extremes of right and left can do exactly what we did under our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower who called his administration “The Middle Way”.  We need our leaders to help turn us in that direction forgetting resentments and a desire for revenge.  Eisenhower accomplished much by being able to talk to, and work with, both sides on every issue. For a nation now mired in conflict, his model of getting things done by taking the middle way could provide a welcome alternative.  In the meantime it is up to all of us to strive for civil discourse and to find common ground. That is as American as Apple Pie.