Purple America



Purple is probably my least favorite color. As a kid, most of my wardrobe came in the form of hand-me-downs from a neighbor’s slightly older daughter. She, evidently, loved purple. I didn’t mind it myself until the playground lady at the elementary school started to call me The Purple Lady every time she saw me get off the bus in  such a tone that I couldn’t tell if she was making fun of me. I can’t remember if I ever had the courage to tell her that I didn’t like being called The Purple Lady- it’s likely that I never did: being all of six years old and conditioned to Not Talk Back to adults. With every subsequent morning and every subsequent greeting to ‘The Purple Lady’ I came to hate the color a little more, as if it was the fault of the color purple that I may or may not have been made fun of by a lady that I may or may not have been courageous enough to confront about it. 

Which is a long way to disclaim that it is not out of any particular loyalty to the color purple that I think it is time for a Purple America. Red America. Blue America. How did there come to be two Americas in the United States? Are we really so different within our own borders that we can’t stand behind the ‘United’ in United States? 

It’s election day and I found myself trying to decide what to wear. You know, aside from black and grey and an ‘I voted’ sticker (which came off almost immediately and is now pasted on my phone instead). I have blue scarves, but not red ones. The only thing that I own that is red, white, and blue is a bandana printed with a union jack which seems  slightly like the wrong form of patriotism. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear a color that was going to make any kind of a statement. Some people seem to be perfectly comfortable staking a claim at one end of the political spectrum or the other. I am not one of these people. I lean blue: I live in a blue city in a blue state and I’m still young enough to be impressionable by ideals, but I like options. I like picking and choosing the ideas that strike me as being the wisest choice instead of ideas that are just the most dogmatic: I don’t think I could thrive in any culture, political or otherwise, that dictates how I should think even if I happen to agree with it in many ways.  I want to plant my flag right in the middle of the goddamn political road where red meets blue.

 It turns out that I want to be The Purple Lady after all.
And I wouldn’t mind a more purple America. It sure would be nice to not feel like I’m shouting my way up the walls of the two party grand canyon just because I don’t want to pick a side. I get no primary. I get no electoral college representation. I get no bloviating nominee to reassure me that we can Make America Great again and that I’m not one of the ones relegated to the basket of deplorables. I’m not ‘undecided’: I’ve decided very carefully to be here. I just wish that ‘here’ wasn’t a blank spot on the map. 

So I’m wearing purple. Because I want a more united United States.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 8, 2016.

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