Polarization v. Compromise or the Cold War v. Common Sense

The polls closed a few minutes ago here in the Heart of America (aka Kansas).  Twelve hours ago I took a few minutes to cast my votes and submit my ballot.  Something unheard of or scoffed at a thousand years ago, or even just a couple or three hundred years in the past; a privilege I have invoked every election year since 1982.  A non-violent non-fatal process for expressing and affirming a society’s will or vision and any changes thereto.

I stumbled across, via my WordPress subscriptions, a blog post by an author I admire, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. entitled ‘Election Day … and the Polarization of Everything?‘  His observations struck a chord with me, especially with the heightened awareness the Internet brings to the radical (left or right … take your pick) and the Tea Party movement.  Extreme viewpoints and adherence to a very strict code of ethics is laudable, but can lead to stalemates at best and a fall into violence at worst.

Without some hope of compromise, I envision a return to a Cold War-type era, where an ‘arms race’ of values and platforms trumps any Common Sense measures which when properly discussed and debated might actually benefit a majority of people.

I admit I’m often a centrist, attempting to accurately see both sides or all sides of an issue before making a suggestion or a decision.  No matter how uncomfortable it might make me feel, I want to ‘walk a mile’ in someone else’s shoes before putting on my own and breaking trail on my own path.

Book Review: The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the CrownThe Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aerin may be the king’s daughter, but you wouldn’t know it from the looks, the stares, the snickers, the pranks, or the court gossip. Her father loved and married Aerin’s mother after his first wife died childless. But being from the North, of unknown heritage and lineage, suspicions of witchcraft at worst and being a commoner at best, followed Aerin like a fog of misery. Her royal Gift failed to manifest as she entered and traversed adolescence, which further fueled the rumors of her inadequate or inappropriate breeding. Aerin wrestled with the trappings of her princess-hood, losing the battle with gentility and sought solace in the royal library and her father’s retired lame warhorse, Talat. Nothing say quest and adventure like a dissatisfied frustrated teenage princess and a well-trained loyal equine collaborator. For starters, and against all odds and her father’s wildest nightmares, Aerin and Talat master the art of dragon slaying.

Aerin proved to be an inspiring character, one I could have warmed up to and appreciated in my own adolescence. But Talat stole the show for me. More than once, his actions and courage brought tears to my eyes.

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