When I was in tenth grade, I was required to write a short essay of sorts that dealt with socioeconomic status in "To Kill a Mocking Bird". Rather than taking any one side of the argument, I chose to address both, and in the end I did well but the teacher told me that I shouldn't sit on the fence, that I should choose one and argue solely for that point. I was a bit confused, because to me, it seemed like the proper approach to such a thing, looking at two sides or more, rather than accepting one unconditionally.

It's true that when debating you must be on one side or the other, otherwise it's more of a discussion than a debate, I suppose. However, it makes sense to know both sides, and accept bits and pieces of both rather than automatically disregarding any possibly true point the other side might present.

It seems to me, that it is much easier to get a view of both sides when perched atop the proverbial fence, if not a good way to get splinters in the buttocks. (Assuming it's a wooden fence. For some reason the image that comes to mind is a white picket fence that separates a haunted mansion from the Jones's house.) Regardless, it is much easier to be objective, fair, when examining both sides of an argument and accepting that you might possibly be wrong on some points if not all. Some people can't do this. They defend one side adamantly without any allowance for error on their part. I can't do that, in fact it is true that I often hover in indecision quite often, possibly too much.

Fence sitting may also just be due to cowardice or a general feeling of little concern for the issue at hand. It would seem that a lot of people associate it with that, rather than assuming the person is attempting to take in both sides of the issue. Sometimes I can't decide. A lot of times I don't think I should have to. (My thoughts on organized religion, and abortion tend to cause me to sit on the fence quite often. I can't accept all the points for or against either, I can only listen and believe parts of what is said. This is good, to me. I don't see that there is any one real truth, but many.)

Canada, at least in my opinion, is generally a large scale example of fence sitting. They tend not to fully agree with things the United States (or other countries) does, but they also don't often disagree either. Political neutrality, perhaps.. at least to a point. I think it leaves us in a better position most of the time. Most of the time being the key words there.

Perhaps I'll always be the one sitting on the fence whilst the others scramble on either side to try and defend that which they feel they must fully believe. I even tend to sit on the fence regarding sitting on the fence. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so much.. but it is the way my brain functions best.