When my three children were mere infants, we began teaching them — basic elements at first, like counting, the alphabet and colors.
Their picture and board books were filled with brightly colored objects including balls, apples, rabbits, puppies, dinosaurs, trains, daffodils, broccoli and grapes.
Red! Blue! White! Yellow! Green! Brown!
And before long, in their eager childish voices, they quickly responded when asked, “What color is the cow?”
It was a simple game that led to their discovery of other objects and colors and helped to open the gates of their innate curiosity and thirst to learn.
During 2020, color has been much in the news. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. White supremacy. Red for Republicans. Blue for Democrats.
It’s hard to believe the color divide has ever been more pronounced at any point in my life.
As the votes of our country’s electorate were ever so deliberately counted this past week, maps saturated in red and blue filled the screens of our TVs, cell phones and computers.
Debates unfolded about which states were going “red,” which states were solid “blue,” which states were flipping from “red” to “blue,” etc. It was a preschooler’s dream, with animated men and women constantly shouting out colors as they gestured continuously —some, like MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, for hours and hours on end — at the varied geometric shapes constituting these United States of America.
Displayed before us was a country divided by color, with just over 70 million red-favoring people and nearly 75 million registering a strong preference for blue.
If we, on whichever curve of the color wheel we may personally land, are sincere about our intentions to get along with our fellow citizens, make this country function and progress together to a better future for all, I propose that the colors red and blue should be set aside in favor of a different hue: purple.
Purple — besides being symbolic of royalty, Barney and the Minnesota Vikings — represents a blending of red and blue.
Purple results when red and blue choose to compromise, letting go of their idiosyncratic shades in favor of becoming something even more distinctive.
Purple would mean a spirit of cooperation, a willingness to “reach across the aisle,” as the saying goes, a desire to move toward a more perfect union rather than clinging to tribalism that serves only to weaken our nation and make us more vulnerable to everything from Internet trolls to international spies to a reduced economy.
Can it really be that uncomplicated? Do we just need to let go of our “favorite” colors and prepare, collectively, to embrace a new one?
Over 30 years ago, author Robert Fulghum released his acclaimed “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” OK, I’ll grant you there are many things we learn beyond kindergarten, even daily, in order to function effectively as contemporary adults, but the point is that if we never lose those lessons of civility, cleanliness and courtesy, we’re better companions and citizens.
Consider that Fulghum urged us to share everything, play fair, clean up our own messes, keep our hands off things that aren’t ours, say we’re sorry when we hurt someone and — essential during a pandemic — wash our hands.
Solid lessons, whether for 1989 or 2020. More important, we need leaders who don’t act like preschoolers but who instead abide by those vital preschool rules.
As voters, we had our chance to scribble in the ovals of our choice while exercising our preference for red or blue.
Now, if we want this democracy to survive and thrive, we need to collectively move ahead, share our crayons and boldly choose purple.
Check out Time for Moore, Jane Turpin Moore’s blog, at https://timeformoore566445504.wordpress.com.