Shades of Purple

We are a country of individuals representing a multitude of colorful beliefs – red, blue, crimson, navy, scarlet, indigo, magenta, and lavender. We are many “Shades of Purple”. A fiscal conservative may be enthusiastically in favor of marriage equality. A social liberal may support tax reductions and a balanced budget. We are complex individuals on a wide ranging spectrum. We are more than just a color on a newsroom whiteboard. We are not a political agenda, nor should we be used as a wedge issue . We are individuals. Multifaceted, sometimes contradictory, always complex individuals.

We forget that we are more than a cause or a political party, and we entrench ourselves with “our side’s” agenda. We dig our heels in, bury our heads in the sand, and ignore the complexities of the situation. We fight so hard for what we are told we should believe or for what we believed in the past that we can forget to consider that our opinions and priorities might change based on our life experiences.

Politics is not the only place that this happens. Religious institutions forget that they must evolve and continue to support outdated and inhumane social stances. Nonbelievers hold on to tyrannical associations with religion and assume that all faith is oppressive. Couples overlook the fact that their partner had a different upbringing and may have different priorities. The list goes on and on and on.

We become frustrated by the inability of some people to think outside the box. It is easier for some to come to their own conclusions, stereotypes, and categorizations about others – and themselves – than to really listen, consider, and evaluate the issue. Individuals do not fall neatly into little boxes of preconceived definitions perpetuated for the ease of those who are too uncreative to imagine an alternate definition.

The time for sound bites is over for now. We need to move our conversations to a more productive and less condemning place. With a little bit of humility and the willingness to listen to another’s perspective, we might just have a chance to talk about solutions instead of blame.