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Court of Public Opinion and a Voice from the Middle Ground

“Middle ground is not a no-man’s land of cowards, but an ever decreasing quotient of good listeners.”

Article by 17160 Stephen Kalyta 

It seems, despite generally disconnecting from mainstream media, my daily interactions with people have become more polarized. Typically, opinions stem from a perception, whether real or otherwise, that to the opposing side, may seem ridiculous. If the uninitiated enter into the fray with a tempered mindset, they can soon find themselves vilified by both sides. Well at least we got opposing sides to agree upon something, right?

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to two good friends and former classmates express their opinions concerning the potential resurgence of nationalism. One viewpoint was generally fixated on the fractional divide between the expression of self-identity versus general acceptance that we are all the same and should be treated with dignity as a unified society. Although I was not present for Rear-Admiral Cassivi’s address at CMR ex-cadet weekend, my classmate was in attendance and recounted the profound impact the Admiral’s speech had upon him.  The topic of dignity for all, was emphasized by the Admiral as a central theme in a democratic society. I would also argue this is the foundation to a middle ground view and central to good leadership.

Middle ground is not a no-man’s land of cowards, but an ever decreasing quotient of good listeners. Consider the following quote from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” I believe this aptly defines the role of the moderator. It takes both skill and courage not to be lured by a populist agenda simply because you may be outnumbered. Throughout our history as Peacekeepers, we have embodied the very notion that we as Canadian soldiers are here to keep the Peace rather than pick a side. A Peacekeeper’s temperament is one of quit resolve, to focus on the facts, and embrace our values rather than be swayed by opinions.

Perhaps society might consider grafting our military ethos back into its own democratic branches before it is ravaged further by the blithe of opinions over facts. Moynihan also stated, “The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively. The whole of society rests on this foundation for stability, understanding and social peace.” I would venture a guess that in more simple terms, Moynihan is talking about Dignity. At times our duty is to serve under those whom we may not agree. A difference of opinion has become a trigger for character assassination rather than healthy debate . This is my opinion. I hope you will weigh it from your position on the middle ground after assessing the facts.

One Comment

  • John Hall

    October 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I think we are in substantial agreement here, but I’m curious about this sentence from your text, “It takes both skill and courage not to be lured by a populist agenda simply because you may be outnumbered.”
    There are dozens, if not hundreds, of agendas being promoted just now. Why did you single out that one?

    John