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News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Leave room for middle ground

By David Newcomb, Battle Ground
Published: April 3, 2024, 6:00am

Watching C-SPAN a couple weeks ago I witnessed a congressman pressing, demanding, from a subpoenaed person, a “simple yes or no answer.” The answer was not readily forthcoming as the conditions of the question made it necessary to provide context for either a yes or no. The congressman didn’t want that; he was forcing a false dichotomy, turning a complex, variable issue into an either/or.

I began to see that numerous issues are twisted into false dichotomies. “Climate has always been changing,” implying that expecting it not to change is unreasonable, but utterly disregarding the rate and cause of change. Politically we have a dichotomy, left and right, and often the assumption is that people are one or the other.

In reality, I suspect that most of us reside on a continuum between the extremes; I certainly do. On some issues I’d be classified as right, on others left. I’ve become sensitive to choices that offer one or the other; do in-between options exist? Are there issues of context and degree of impact? Well there’s good old driving, red/stop, green/go. Oh wait, there’s yellow.

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