Saturday, November 13, 2004

All This Red and Blue Crap

Yeah, not supposed to use that kind of language if your vocabulary’s above about 5th grade, but sometimes a word is a word is a word. Crap perfectly describes my attitude toward those who have suddenly found it fashionable to divide my country up like a poorly-made quilt.



We’ve always been a divided country and thank-god for it, it’s our greatest strength. Without division, how is intellectual, spiritual and economic growth possible? The best current example of what happens without division is the cancerous growth of Wal-Mart and, now that we’re growing tired of Sam Walton as a low-wage icon, it’s division that will bring changes. Division is the point-man of American change. Let’s celebrate.



Yet it pains me to see maps of my country red-and-blued. For one thing, it’s an Electoral-College coloring rather than an accurate indication of electorate mind-set. The electorate, the common terminology for a widely disparate mass of individuals, all with differing needs, desires and aspirations, has a lot of things on their collective minds when they touch that screen or pull that crank. Chances are, few of them vote with a high degree of enthusiasm for any candidate. A middle class soccer-mom who cringes at the thought of gay marriage, may have a nephew in Iraq and hate the thought of all the guns on the street. She may well touch the Republican screen, but don’t tell me she’s totally comfortable with that choice. She’s divided within herself, as we all are if we have a working brain. Her sister, the one with the son in Iraq, may or may not have voted Democrat within their “red” state, but the chances are that this mindless coloring of nuance is keeping them from discussing the candidates---and there’s the rub.



The old advice to never discuss religion or politics is un-American at its core. We argue over sports teams and reality-TV, then shy away from talking about who’s doing what in Israel and why, or if national deficits are more dangerous than maxing our credit-cards. That’s wrong! We are a nation of arguers and are at our best when raising our voices.



So, I submit that it’s just plain silly to paint everyone in Mississippi red and California blue. I have friends in both states, friends who are multi-agenda thinkers and who from time to time have voted for candidates in either party. They are approachable. Their minds are not set. They are no man’s coloring exercise. Abraham Lincoln was despised in the same south that supports George Bush and its intervening decades were solidly Democratic. So, what color do we paint that?



Changeable, I would guess.