Monday, March 18, 2013

Moving Toward the Middle

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the largest chunk of opponents to LGBT equality also happen to be the largest chunk of country music fans.

In a radio interview last week, Chely Wright referred to what she called the "movable middle;" folks unlikely to identify with those of extreme and often shrill conviction; folks who understand and live in the need for compromise, pulling together and playing fair.

I would love to see the middle move--they are a powerful and accessible demographic. They are also exhausted. Most "middlers," being nearly everyone I've ever met, are stretched thin by raising families, caring for aging parents, managing careers, paying bills, and keeping the car running.

And while it's true that they are busy, they are also smart and paying attention. They know--trust me, they get it--that the extremist views out there are really just a strategy to get their attention and scare them.

They're not buying into extremism, but here's what they are buying--common sense from people they know and trust. Think about it: part of this demographic, the "movable middle," have been familiar with Chely Wright for at least the past fifteen years, probably more. They knew her ups and downs, her hard work, her candor, and even who she dated. They knew they went a couple of years without hearing from her, and when they found out why, it gave them pause. Chely Wright took the time to earn compassion and respect from some sensible people.

I suspect that as Chely Wright continues to demonstrate that her values, talent, and candor haven't changed, the movable middle will change, gladly.