Recently I was invited to attend a meeting of dialogue for people of different political persuasions for the purpose of understanding and finding areas of common ground.
I did not respond immediately, only to receive a follow-up email saying they were still looking for participants, but they had enough people who considered themselves “blue” (liberal) and needed more “reds” (conservatives). It made me wonder how long we have used these two primary colors in that way. Red and Blue states took off from the maps shown on TV news of our country in the 1996 Presidential Election. And clearly, it has stuck.
So what color AM I? I am in the mishmash of purple. And not the fun of saying ‘Purple Pride” as a Vikings fan, but more of the purple that can come in bruising from a world so divided (and of course being a Vikings fan has a bunch of associated bruises as well). I try to inform my politics through Catholic Social Teaching and a What Would Jesus Do philosophy. So is that red or blue? Again, I turn to purple, a color of Advent and Lent. We are in a time of repentance, knowing our lives are flawed and that there is no perfect candidate or party. So when we turn to Catholic Social Teaching and Christ, what colors do we see?
Blue can remind us of the waters of our Baptism, and Red the fire of the Holy Spirit from Confirmation. The Catholic Social Teaching of Life and Dignity of the Human Person can be the brightness of yellow, and the glow from the ultrasound machine showing a life being knitted in the womb. This beautiful dignity of life is also seen in a sunny smile when an elderly person finds joy in the simple. Catholic Social Teaching challenges us that the poor and vulnerable need protection, so I think of the silver of a shield, as well as gold representing the sharing of our treasure. And green can represent our care for God’s creation.
So the world is not simply black or white… or red vs. blue. I believe God was trying to teach us that things do not boil down to just two colors when he sent us the rainbow of hope.