BY SHARON MARTIN
Recently my bona fides as a centrist have been questioned. Oh, I admit that I’m a social liberal. More than half a century of living has led to my beliefs, that access to opportunity plays as big a role as intelligence and drive in a person’s success and failure, and that there are no easy fixes to society’s problems.
Experience has also made me a personal-freedoms libertarian and a fiscal conservative. And it’s made me opinionated, but I can change my opinion in the face of new information.
That’s why I’m puzzled by climate change deniers, one of whom claimed I should call my essays, “Lies from the Left.”
How can the deniers be so sure? And why do they get so angry when someone expresses belief that humans are at least partly responsible for the mess?
I don’t claim to predict the weather. Weather happens day to day; climate is a combination of factors. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know this: in my 30y-plus years of gardening, the past two have changed all the rules.
One doesn’t wait until Easter to set out tomatoes. Even a potato crop planted early can fail due to heat. Spinach bolts in April. Most scientists in the world believe what I’ve experienced in Northern Oklahoma: temperatures have risen.
What else does a centrist believe? I can only speak for myself.
I believe in the Constitution; in the right to bear arms; to freely worship or not; to assemble, speak, and petition the government for redress of grievances.
I believe in the common good and equal opportunity.
I’m willing to pay taxes, but I want to have a voice through my elected officials as to how those tax dollars are spent.
I favor a strong military, care of soldiers who have done their duty, police protection, fire protection, clean water and air, universal health care, and universal education.
I believe in Civil Rights, workers’ rights, and a strong middle class.
I don’t hate anyone. I’m disappointed in some of our leaders and in the sheep that have been led to vote against their own self-interest, and I am grateful for the freedom of speech that allows me to say what I think.
And I do think. I try to listen to both sides of every argument before I come to a conclusion, and that puts me slap dab in the center.
In any society, including ours, there are problems to address. We can be hateful to each other or we can engage in dialogue.
Which do you think is more productive?
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer