OPINION: Stuck in the middle (without you)

McKenzie Lakey, Orientation Editor

Being a transplant from one small town to another, I’ve noticed that one thing tends to carry over from town to town: A conservative mindset.

Now this might seem kind of odd, considering that Central is at the heart of Ellensburg and we’re a fairly liberal university. But once you break out of downtown, you’ll start to notice the conservative roots that this town thrives on.

Some of you may even know that Kittitas County is represented by Matt Manweller, a Republican and associate professor of political science at Central.

Growing up surrounded by conservatism, it becomes a part of life that’s ingrained in you —just as I’d imagine it is in a city or town where more liberal ideologies are present.

As you grow older though, you start to realize that political beliefs become more defined and people are starting to push and pull you in several directions.

Your parents and family will want you to stick to what you know. They’ll remind you of the small businesses impacted by tax increases and the incessant rising of minimum wage.

On the other side of it, your friends will desperately try to convince you that the ideals you’ve grown up with are old-fashioned, that society is progressing and it’s time for a “political revolution.”

So what happens to those of us who want to be in the middle? I grew up conservative, and that’s not something you can—or necessarily want—to shake easily. However, I agree with several aspects of both parties, but many can’t seem to accept that.

As much as I hate politics, they’re part of life and people act as though you have to choose one side. However, once you do that, there will always be someone outside of that line who feels as though you’re attacking that magical letter next to their name on a voting ballot while simultaneously threatening their very existence.

Then the childish defense mechanisms kick in, and we tune out every opinion that doesn’t agree with our own.

That’s where politics in this nation tend to go sour.  

On one side of the political spectrum, we’ve got an old guy who wants to make everything free and ensure that everyone pays their “fair share” into the giant social pot.

On the other side we have a man with a comb over—I can’t even begin to count the amount of memes created in response to that—who wants to build a wall and will likely piss off every nation if elected. And don’t even get me started on the candidate famous for her pantsuits.

Now be honest, this is exactly how you all view these candidates. Why? Well for many reasons, but mainly because the polarization of our political field has forced these candidates on us, and they’re all the extremists within their parties.

The moderate independent has slowly disappeared and we’re forced to pick one candidate or the other, even though the majority of us probably don’t want either side elected at this point.

So what happened to politics? And why are we continuing to let it happen? Why is the field— and in turn, our nation—so divided?

I know that it’s not easy to stand in the middle and refuse to budge, especially when we’re being pulled in both directions by what we know and what we’re being told.

It’s too late for this election coming up in November, but hopefully in the future we can remove this gap that’s only continuing to divide us, rather than unite us. It’s up to our generation. So quit fucking around and let’s start picking some better candidates so our generation isn’t known as the one that screwed America over.