It’s a peculiar space to occupy, this realm of trying to see both sides of an issue or idea.
It’s akin to standing in the center of a Venn diagram, arms outstretched, trying to bridge the gap between two opposing worlds. Or precariously balancing on a teeter-totter hoping you don’t end up with a bruised bottom. Here is the place where nuance thrives, where the black and the white of the opposing sides fade into subtle shades of gray.
“attempts to straddle the divide can be isolating”
I also believe that most of us work hard to live in these shades of gray; to better understand one another. That said, it seems that our world is more loudly and colorfully megaphoned by those who live at the extremes – opposite one another. Leaving the majority of us in a world that’s increasingly defined by rigid ideological lines, attempts to straddle the divide can be isolating. It’s as if the very act of trying to understand becomes a chasm, separating us from those who’ve chosen to entrench themselves in a single worldview. We have no tribe to call our own, no colors to wave in solidarity, no mascot.
Seeing Both Sides Leads To Understanding:
This seems to be completely in opposition to the essence of true understanding. True understanding looks to me like the ability to grasp the complexities that underlie an issue, to acknowledge that truth can be multifaceted, and that perspectives are shaped by experiences outside of our own.
How could that be isolating?
“Where is the team for the people who can see validity in both sides of disparate arguments?”
On one hand, the Right mocks and satirizes, using the weapon of absurdity to question the boundaries of identity. It charges forward with snarky humor, holding up a twisted mirror to our society as we grapple with an expanding lexicon of labels and categories. In my TikTok feed, I saw one guy actually call himself TRANS-parent. He uses the concept of absurdity to claim that he does not identify as a parent to his kids anymore and that’s his right.
Then, almost immediately, I witnessed a young transgender male looking directly into the camera (yes, again on my TikTok feed). He asks, point blank, “Do you want me in your bathroom?” With a full beard and imposing physique, I would never question this person as male. However, they were assigned female at birth. They then said, “I don’t think this is what the conservatives had in mind when they insist we use the bathroom that links up to our assigned gender.”
Where is the team for the people who can see validity in both sides of disparate arguments? Why, even though we outnumber the extremes, are we almost undetected? Do we have T-shirts?
The Space Of Disparate Views:
“this is also the space where one’s capacity to learn, grow, and appreciate the richness of human experience in all its complexity is lurking”
I used this particularly politically charged nugget for the obvious chasm between views on gender identity in this country. But being able to see both sides infiltrates everything. At worst, it can make one appear indecisive, lacking conviction. But as a seeker of common ground, I believe there’s magic where the lines between allies and adversaries blur. It’s the space I choose to inhabit.
It’s in this place, the space of disparate views, where we can find a profound sense of empathy. I truly believe that this is also the space where one’s capacity to learn, grow, and appreciate the richness of human experience in all its complexity is lurking. In my opinion, we should all be clamoring to get there.
I propose we wear our isolation like a badge of honor, a testament to the power of nuance in a world that often craves simplicity. Let’s continue to navigate this uncharted territory, knowing that in our perceived solitude, we are not truly alone. There are many of us who are working to bridge the gap, to seek understanding in a world that sorely needs it. And if anyone is ordering team shirts, I’ll take a small.