Looking down from our He-59, I can see the coast of England forming up just this side of the horizon.

These English, so smug, so isolated, so close to defeat!

Why don’t they just give up?

On this second night of mine deployment in the Thames Estuary, we’re putting the noose around the necks of those plucky English.

They don’t even know what’s hittin’em.

Our pilot, Adelberg, banks left, turning the aircraft toward the coastline.

Yes, get us close to shore, they’ll never think of being attacked there!

READY TO ARM THE MINE, Kalen announces across the comms.

Lights from the ground staccato on-off, as if flashing us.

GROUND-FIRE, I announced on the comms.

Tracers streak past the plane.

A few rounds slice through the thin metal shell separating my body from the outside air.

WE’RE ALMOST THERE, GET READY. Adelberg announces.

More rounds slam into the side and bottom of the plane.

I’M HIT! Kalen screams.

Turning to see if I can help, I find Kalen curled up, clutching his left arm within his doubled over body.

I’ll have to drop it.

Kalen reaches up with his right arm, trying to stop me.

DROP IT! LET’S GET OUT OF HERE. Adelberg demands.

I pull Kalen out of the way, grabbing hold of the lever.

Kalen struggles, reaching toward my arm.

DROPPING IT, I announce as I pull the lever, releasing the mine into the water below.

In a shaky voice, Kalen mutters, No, not yet!

Is Kalen spooked?

“Kalen, are you alright?” I ask by turning toward him, avoiding the comms.

“It wasn’t armed yet.” He replies, a sense of insecurity in his voice.

I look at Kalen. He stares back at me in anger.

“Why didn’t you arm it?” I demand.

“I was about to when I got hit!” He retorts, teeth mashing together in an effort to deal with the pain.

This mission will have been for nothing.

“I don’t want to have been short for nothing!” Kalen declares, as if he read my mind.

“It’s not for nothing.” I reply. “At least we learned you cry like a baby.” I say as I take out the med kit.

“And you overreact!” He replies, smiling as he kicks me.

SHUT IT YOU TWO, Adelberg chimes in. WE’RE HEADING HOME.

In the early days of World War II a German secret weapon was wreaking havoc on British shipping. Many ships were disappearing en route. On occasion a ship would enter port with it’s keel broken. The British were desperate to figure out what was causing their ships spines to snap. On the night of November 22, 1939 a German He-59 Seaplane was on a mine-laying mission over the Thames Estuary near Shoeburyness when it came under intensive ground fire. In a hurry to unburden themselves and get away from the barrage, the Germans dropped their magnetic shipping mines too early, before they had the chance to arm the devices. Due to the tides at the time, one of the mines landed in mud, rather than under the water. The Royal Navy and Army explosive experts acted quickly, retrieving the mine, and sending it to HMS Vernon (a research facility) to find out its secrets. Through intensive efforts at disassembly, the British were able to find out how the mine worked, and thus, how it could be disabled. The British were lucky to find a solution to their shipping problem. The Germans assumed the British would surrender when enough of their shipping was lost. The British may have done so, if it weren’t for a few nervous crew on a seaplane who accidentally gave the secrets of Germany’s secret weapon to the British first. Sometimes in War a slam dunk victory can be given away in a freak flood of nerves by a few soldiers.

ReForming The Center

On June 23, 2016 the United Kingdom held a vote on either to stay or leave the European Union (EU). Called Brexit this vote cast the fringes against the Center of the country, with the fringes winning by a mere 2% points with the help of multiple mistruths and the support of Russian influence operations. Today the process that vote began is in shambles, with the UK girding for a hard Brexit, preparing to fall out of the EU without any agreement in place on what happens next. This vote was the prelude to the election of extreme candidates across much of the world, from the United States to Brazil, and beyond.

This week, though, we’ve seen the first signs of moves away from the extremes. Members of both the Labor and Tory Parties left each to form a group calling itself “The Independents”. These are the seeds of what will be a movement away from the established parties to a central position within UK politics. They are also the harbingers of what’s to come in countries across the world where extremists took power.

As with all movement, all revolutions, all state-sponsored influence operations, there is a move in the opposite direction as well. One always precedes the other. We are now beginning to see that movement take shape in the UK. We may witness it transform the United States 2020 Presidential Election process as well. Where else will this movement begin to form? Where will it coalesce? Where will it fail? Where will it prevail? It’s too early to know the answers to these questions. What we do know, though, is the movement toward The Center has begun.

A key question worth asking is:

  • How do I support this movement to The Center?

Advocate for The Center. When you are in a conversation where someone starts pushing an extreme position, push back with a Central point. Never surrender The Center. As long as it’s held, built upon, and strengthened, it will endure.

Be an extreme Centrists. It’s the only way to save our democracies, our societies, our children’s lives, and honor all who gave their lives in The 20th Century’s Wars.

Getting Back to Center

Last week I wrote a piece on the value of the Center, you can read it here. This week I’d like to expand on that missive with a strategy on how to bring systems back to Center. So much ink is often spilled on the negative attributes of moving toward extremes. You can read my writings on The 20th Century’s War here to see the negative consequences of the extremes. I’ve found little thought, though, on how to bring systems back to Center. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Whether is is a political system, an engine, or any other entity which requires the movement of many parts to work effectively, extremes lead to failure. Working within central parameters is where the most effective overall activity takes place. Yet, often we want a little extra out of the system, we push a little more gas to the engine, we hype up the messaging against a political opponent to score an electoral victory, or we juice the system in some way to gain some short-term advantage. In the long-term, though, this method destroys the system, requiring replacement. When it comes to drag racing cars that’s an expensive proposition. When it comes to the political dynamics within a country, or the relationship between countries, it’s often paid for in lives, property, and future prosperity, all on the human level.

Therefore, how do we take a system which is moving toward the extremes, juiced with short-term explosives, and bring it back to the Center? The Center is not nearly as appealing as the explosive statements about an opposing tribe. The Center is often run by bureaucrats, not exciting television personalities constantly throwing entertainment and distraction our way. The Center is where you want nothing big to happen, rather than the place where every day a dramatic new event could shift the political or geopolitical winds in a massive new way. The Center is where prosperity resides, where the future of our children offers a path to fruition, where we as people need to strive to be.

To move away from the extremes, we need to use the same tools the extremes use to appeal to us. We need to draw attention to the amygdala within the brain. We need to address base emotions. We need to appeal to not only the thinking brain of the cerebral cortex, but the lizard brain as well. How can the Center do that? It’s not exciting!

Yes, it is!

What is more exciting to you? Some new twist and turn of a government shutdown, or making sure your child is not killed in a second Civil War?

What is more exciting to you? Trumped up rhetoric about caravans of refugees fleeing persecution and violence in their homes, or having that persecution and violence infecting your home?

What is more important to you? Fear mongering about someone maybe someday making it hard for you to buy a gun, or knowing your child is safe at school from some person who found easy access to an arsenal of firearms?

When looked at in this way, we can see the Center is where the excitement is. The Center is where the future offers a path forward. The Center is the way.

When politicians parties, or politicians themselves, get on their soap boxes about whatever they believe will excite their supporters, they should be moving those supporters toward the Center. Whenever you listen to a politician speak, you should be moving that person toward the Center. Whenever the media reports on a politician’s diatribe, it should be reported to the Center.

Otherwise, just as the drag racer engine needs to be replaced after a short time throwing nitro into it, the political system will require replacement, which historically has never been a peaceful or painless process. The Center is where humanity is most human, and thus should be where we insist our political and social systems reside.

Let’s all excite others about the power of the Center. It’s the only place in which we may find safety, security, prosperity, and a future for ourselves, our children, our communities, our nation, and our world.