September 12, 2012 - I've never thought of myself as a person who dwelled in the middle on any subject.
From politics to deer hunting to the proper way to mix a Martini, I have a point of view on just about everything. I know what I like. I know what I don't like.
But lately, I've come to the realization there are two very extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to those who participate in and comment on government's actions, which leaves me in the middle. Make no mistake, both extremes are equally annoying, equally dangerous and equally loathsome.
On the one end, there are the folks who, no matter what the situation is, loudly proclaim, "Our officials are saints and they can do no wrong. We should trust them implicitly, never question their motives and most importantly, never criticize their actions in public. We must show unity at all times. Go team!"
I've always found this group of lemmings to be extremely irritating and tiresome. It's this kind of blind faith that leads to unchecked corruption, the trampling of the public's voice and huge sums of wasted tax dollars.
Some folks on this of the spectrum are simply naive. They possess a childlike trust in government machinery and the officials who run it. They need to be led and are afraid to think for themselves. They feel safe as followers.
Others are much more savvy. They know it's all a steaming load of cow pies, but they constantly toe the party line and play the game because they're personally benefiting from their association with the powers that be.
On the other end of the spectrum are the paranoid people who see conspiracies everywhere.
No matter what the issue, no matter what the facts are, no matter how simple or plain something truly is, these folks believe there's skullduggery afoot behind every corner and a fiend lurking in every shadow. There's always got to be more because nothing is ever what it seems.
Many of these folks spend a lot of time on the internet doing so-called research, then vomiting forth their claims as facts on blogs and Facebook pages. Their favorite pastime is reading between the lines and overanalyzing each and every word until they arrive at whatever conclusions fit their own preconceptions. The result is they contribute to the erosion of public trust just as much our elected officials and appointed bureaucrats do at times.
Some of these folks honestly have good intentions, but frankly, they just don't have a clue. Others simply have way too much free time on their hands and access to a Wi-Fi hotspot. Some are just desperate for attention.
Looking at both extremes, I'll stay independently and comfortably in the middle between servility and insanity.
When government officials or their lackeys do something that's actually wrong (not just imagined) or they waste taxpayer dollars, believe me, I'll hammer them and show no mercy as I have in the past.
But if there's nothing there, there's nothing there.
I'm not going to go looking for the Boogeyman under every desk and Bigfoot in every filing cabinet. Some things just are what they are no matter how much we may dislike, distrust or disagree with the people involved.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.