Becky Kiel

Emerging Author

In the Radical Middle

Sep 07, 2018 by Becky Kiel , in World We Live In

Nate Boyer said this:

Personally, I do not endorse Kaepernick’s method of protest but I absolutely support his right to do so. That is an unpopular place to stand these days, in the radical middle, defending someone you somewhat disagree with.

Sep 6, 2018


Reminded me of something that I thought Patrick Henry said in the 1700’s: I disagree with what you say but will defend your right to say it to the death. Maybe he didn’t say it, but someone else did when describing him. I recall that phrase as a bedrock of America coming into being as a nation – before the Constitution was written, before the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken, and before our National Anthem was first sung. About the same time as Betsy Ross sewed 13 stars on our flag.


Here in rural Missouri my friends – those who glow with pride when speaking of President Trump and those who went to the Women’s March (Kansas City, Jan. 21, 2017) – greet me with warm handshakes and friendly hugs. We compare rain gauge readings (now ½ inch; oops, it’s pouring again), complain about the small number of eating places in this town, and compare notes on books, movies and shows.


They know me for who I am, an (over) educated, older woman, who is likely to make a point by quoting the Constitution, the Bible, or an environmental article. We react to or ignore each other on Facebook. What matters – what fills us with joy – is sharing lunch, commiserating over family difficulties, and laughing together.


Something that strikes me odd about the contentious arguments going on these days is this. People yell at each other about almost every social question. But what’s driving these unsettling changes is technology. And across the political spectrum we reach for the same updates and new devices. (When will that new FitBit Charge come out?) I don’t hear anybody seriously calling for a slow down in new technology. So we, traditionalist and progressive alike, are sliding together into the eye of this social storm.


Anybody who thinks they know what America will look like on the other side of the storm is in for a surprise. Just look back 20 years ago and ask yourself if you foresaw social media and its impact on how we live.


This isn’t the first time a society has stumbled in confusion, disagreeing over what is the best way forward. And so, true to my own habits, I’ll end with something from the Bible where a rag tag band of families stood on a historical precipice about 3,200 years ago, facing an unknown future.

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

          Joshua 1:9 NRSV


Think I’ll bake bread tomorrow – using technology halfway, letting the bread machine do the kneading and rising on the dough cycle. Then turn it into loaf pans and bake it in my oven.