Political analysts talk about blue states, red states, and purple states…
But by definition, their purple states aren’t actually purple.
Blue must mix with red in order to create purple…
And in so-called purple states, blue remains on its side and red remains on its side. Some voters swing to one side or the other, depending on the candidate. But there are still sides. Red and blue don’t mix in those states—they fight!
So it’s more accurate to refer to them by their other name: battleground states.
But in another way, they are purple. Because we’re purple. You, me—we’re all purple.
I’m not saying we’re both Republican and Democrat. I’m saying: we’re a mix of red and blue. In all of us, the blue of heaven and the red of earth meet to create purple. Though we may swing back and forth, from one color to the other, our true color is always purple.
I accept that idea as an intellectual belief. But in rare moments of realization, I feel its truth. At such times, I’m not stuck in the red mud of basic physical survival. Nor am I floating in some blue ethereal daydream. No, I’ve elevated myself while keeping my feet solidly on the ground.
Ironically, this accomplishment may come after a defeat. After I’ve exhausted myself in battle. The battle within. Me fighting myself. One side fighting the other.
Usually that battle is a mere skirmish. But sometimes, it’s all-out war. In any case, it’s an on-going fight.
My struggles have taught me the obvious: when we don’t want to deal with an inner conflict, we’ll project that conflict out there. Yes, I realize political red and political blue disagree on fundamental issues…
Nonetheless, their fights reflect their inner conflicts.
But whether I fight in here or out there, I eventually exhaust myself. The result: a feeling of emptiness. And not the good meditative type of emptiness. It’s the feeling that there’s nothing left inside.
When I can no longer ignore that feeling, I stop. I stop the argument I’m having with the world, with myself. I rise above the inner conflict. I’m no longer divided against myself.
If I’m able to stop long enough, I will realize my purple-ness. And in realizing my purple-ness, I also realize our purple-ness. After all, I’m not a separate species. How I truly am is how we human beings truly are.
An irony: to be as I truly am is not so easy. It seems natural to be divided, to be in conflict. Isn’t that the way of the world?
But if I’m in pain, isn’t it natural to try to find the cause and then try to find a cure?
So in actuality, it’s natural to try to heal the split, to try to resolve the inner conflict…
…and in so doing, realize our purple-ness.
I think most of us have moments in which we realize our purple-ness. But obviously, we need more such moments. I think purple, used as a symbol—used accurately, that is—could help get us there. Purple could remind us of our purple-ness. We’d see the symbol, then think, then feel.
We’ve all witnessed the power of symbols. An occasional shot of symbolic purple could awaken us to our truth. If we don’t experience that truth more often, I believe we’re doomed.
sky rope poetry blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton