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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monkey in the middle

    Joyanna Jonescolumnist
    Joyanna Jones
    columnist

    Being a moderate conservative can sometimes feel like a vastly unfair game of “”monkey in the middle.”” Remember the game from recess where the big bullies threw the red rubber ball over your head, back and forth, and laughed when you jumped up and down, unable to reach the ball? Yeah, that’s the one.

    Our country is so politically polarized right now that if you are not far-right or far-left, you feel like you are jumping up and down, desperately trying to grab a hold of the issues that each side is throwing at each other. Everybody is screaming so loud at each other that your voice, possibly a voice of reason, gets drowned out.

    Sometimes, it is easier just to say nothing to avoid a big discussion. Especially in the circles I run in. As a journalism major and a member of the Wildcat opinions desk, my colleagues are decidedly democratic/left/liberal. Conversely, being raised in a sheltered home with strict but loving parents and attending a large church most of my life, my family and friends are mostly Republican/right/conservative.

    I often find myself squirming in class discussions because my fellow classmates openly disparage views that they feel are not as intelligent

    I often find myself squirming in class discussions because my fellow classmates openly disparage views that they feel are not as intelligent or enlightened as theirs, without even hearing an argument for a dissenting opinion.

    or enlightened as their own, without even hearing an argument for a dissenting opinion. It is uncomfortable when the punch line of political barbs hits relatively close to home.

    It is also frustrating when acquaintances from the various churches that I have attended here in Tucson assume that because I share their belief, I share their political views. Visiting a church once, the pastor was instructing his congregation how to vote in his sermon. I wanted to scream that I thought he was wrong; I have not been back there since.

    It often feels like one of the bullies just took the red rubber ball and ran away with it, refusing to let anyone else play with it any more. Well, this ruins recess for everyone, and it is not a healthy political environment when people just assume that everyone else thinks their way or fits into their little box of how “”the other side”” thinks.

    In the past, I have kept my mouth shut a lot of the time. I have tried to ignore the jokes and not let the ignorance of both extreme ends of the political spectrum bother me. But in a way I have been letting the people I disagree with win, and I have furthered their delusions that everyone else thinks like them by not speaking up.

    Believe me, it’s not that I do not feel passionate about international and national issues; it’s that I have been judged before I speak because I openly admit to leaning conservative on some issues, moderate on others, and maybe even liberal once in a great while.

    I have to defend my views to both liberals and conservatives. I have gotten very good at justifying my opinions on a plethora of issues. But it does grow tiresome.

    Now, as a columnist, I have been given a great opportunity to use this forum. I can now present my views to a much wider and diverse audience. My offbeat and kooky voice can be heard. Hopefully when you read my columns, you will be prompted to at least think about things in a different light.

    And maybe, if you think sort of like me, you will realize that you are not alone. You do not have to keep your mouth shut either.

    In our game of “”monkey in the middle,”” perhaps I can tackle the bully by the legs and you can grab the red rubber ball. It’s really hard to have a turn with the ball unless you have other people who are going to help you out.

    Maybe we can even buck the two-party system and get an independent to win the presidency. But that is a dream for another day and another column.

    Joyanna Jones is a senior majoring in journalism. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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