300 million Shades of Purple (Put the red and blue map away!)

Election day – 300 million shades of purple

300-million shades of purple: Enough already with the “polarization” declarations. I believe that cliché misses the point here. Let me explain:

Early this morning, walking the dog in an adjacent neighborhood, I ran into a “nodding acquaintance.” (Nodding acquaintance means someone I exchange nods with most mornings, but we’ve never actually talked). He was pulling a Romney/Ryan sign from his front lawn.

He looked up at me, shook his head slowly and raised both hands – palms up – in the universal sign of “Where do we go from here?” resignation.

This time Washington needs to listen

CONVERSATION: We’ve never talked before, but his gesture was like an invitation. “It’s OK,” I heard myself saying, “I don’t believe this is an Obama mandate so much as it is a mandate for reevaluation. I believe America wants to work together, and the nation has sent a clear message to Washington that we expect Congress to do the same.”

“But people are so polarized,” he said.

“Well that’s what we’ve been told,” I replied, “but I’m beginning to believe that it’s only the extremes that are polarized. Most of the rest of us want to get along, and we want to get things done that help everyone despite their politics, and we’re more than willing to join hands across the aisle. I’ll go a step further, I think most of the rest of us want to get rid of the aisle and all sit in the same section.”

“I’ll go a step further, I think most of the rest of us want to get rid of the aisle and all sit in the same section.”

I told him that the most important thing that can happen now is for the Obama administration to prepare for the second term as if they’re assembling a coalition government.

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN: Listen to the people, already! The people may have spoken, but what we said is this, “Pretty much 40% of us lean to the moderate right, and around 40% of us lean to the moderate left. We’re telling you – ONE MORE TIME – to stop being manipulated by the noisy 20% and work together like 80% of us demand!”

The sad thing is that this time around it took the politicians a full year and six-billion dollars ($3-billion each for the presidential race and then everything else) to find out what we’ve been telling them for the best part of two decades. And we’re still not sure that they can hear that well.

AMERICA IS CELEBRATING: That sound you hear around the USA, the cheering and the applause, it’s not for the Democrats, and it’s not for the Republicans either; it’s for the end of this long year of manipulation, of negativity and of spin.

We’re also celebrating the fact of our shared love for this country. They need a new political map on the television, to replace the one with huge blocks of red and blue. That division-oriented map is a lie. Our reality here in the USA is 300 million shades of purple.

Our reality here in the USA is 300 million shades of purple.

Celebrating America!

So here’s my challenge. Wear some purple this week; send some to your congressional representatives; show up to the inauguration wearing it; talk purple with your friends; send purple messages on the Internet…

Congratulations, President Obama! But I really don’t want a blue America, I want to celebrate 300 million shades of purple. – DEREK

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. – (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)

82 thoughts on “300 million Shades of Purple (Put the red and blue map away!)

  1. A great opportunity to drop the nodding and have an acquaintance. We’re all anxious, of course, to know what the response was. Charles


  2. Thank you, Derek! Words of sanity and hope that are oh so true… thank you for encouraging a fellow believer in DeFuniak Springs! By the way, Wade and Hilda Jackson (members of my church) speak very warmly of you 🙂


  3. Such great words of wisdom! Thanks being such a great purveyor of optimism! You inspire me. I’m going to move on that purple challenge; what a great idea!!! Peace.


    1. Thanks, Ray. Just received an email from WordPress. They’re going to feature this post on their “Freshly Pressed” page in the next couple of days. Should generate some traffic and interest. Peace – D


  4. Great thinking – both of us are impressed with your approach to a solution so badly needed to restore the USA to the greatness we are about to lose if we don’t get together as a dedicated nation to the principles upon which we were founded. Love to you both Betty and Ted


  5. While I appreciate your comments and proposed solution, those that could lead change in Washington are, in fact, highly polarized starting with the President and flowing down to the leadership of both houses of Congress. That, plus the our elected representatives demonstrated reluctance to really listen to “us”, leaves me very pessimistic regarding the likelihood of positive change over the next four years. Just one man’s opinion.


  6. Interesting perspective. I do believe that any country will be able to get more done in government when there are moderates (not polar opposites) from both sides working together towards a shared goal. I hope that in America that can be done this term even though there is a Democratic president, Democratics controlling the Senate but Republicans controlling the House or Rep……. Congrats on being FP!


      1. I have no experience with voting yet, I have to wait until the next ones for my first vote, but I guess your right, I just wish they can sort something out in terms of jobs for young people, its a big problem for a lot of people


  7. You got down in words exactly what I’ve been feeling the last couple of days. And then the Bible did the same thing: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” Go purple!


  8. I admire your level head in the conversation with your neighbor. A lot of people had put all their chips on the table for this election and are now feeling like they lost it all. It is hard to explain that it is not as bad as they thought.

    I am glad to read your point of view, because it is close to what my heart tells me is true. At least it is what I need to believe in. Thank you for writing.


    1. Thanks for your excellent comment. What no-one has noted yet, but that you grasp -I believe – is that (not despite but because of my public voice) no-one other than my wife knows for sure who I voted for. Because, especially in this conversation, it doesn’t matter….


      1. I get that. There are other issues that are much more important to get to sometimes. It’s hard to see it because surface issue has a lot of energy to it. I know wisdom when I see it, and you have a good deal of it. I would want you for a neighbor anytime! 🙂


  9. Very well said, and may i say creative too. This article is not only relevant to current events but pop culture as well. I could not agree with you more — we need to work together as a nation, like you said it’s not about red or blue, but purple-which happens to be my favorite color. I believe it is our job to not give up until change is made. Having them hear us is not enough, but instead watching a proactive take on the issue. Again, great points here. I will be sure to tweet about this.


    1. Thanks much. Yes, feel free to re-tweet (or whatever it’s called!). I took a quick look at your blog, and liked. Your “think differently” reminded me of my favorite character in the Old Testament of the Bible. Caleb was given special mention by God, “This is my servant Caleb, he thinks differently…”
      Peace – DEREK


  10. Nice to hear “sensible” America speak. Obama has a wonderful charisma and is fairly popular here in the UK, but it’s the “pulling together” that counts. We are nowhere near achieving that over here.
    I am the most unpolitical creature imaginable and am surprised to find myself commenting on here, but I did like what you had to say. Well deserved FP.


    1. Thanks much, Johanna. I, too, am intentionally non-political… but I’m discovering that I have a responsibility to use my “positive voice” in this venue. I honestly do believe we can make a difference if we live according to the law of love – DEREK


  11. Well said Derek…from your lips to Gods ears and the Gov’t.s! You’ve already reached many and made me feel better…I love the idea of the 300 million shades of purple. I hope we all can rise above and move onward and upward . . . people need to let their animosity go and realize as you said we’re all in this together IT”S AMERICA! Thank you for your sane voice……


    1. Thanks, Evie, I appreciate it.
      I honestly believe it’s not a pipe dream for us to come together. We really aren’t that far apart. Go purple! (a bunch of my friends have already said they’re wearing purple to church this Sunday!)
      Peace – DEREK


  12. Purple is my favorite color. I would like to think that this kind of national cohesiveness can be achieved, but I’m a little cynical after what I’ve been reading on the internet.


  13. This is an absolutely amazing post. As a moderate, I tried explaining my sense of relief for this election being over to my concerned conservative parents who are in a state of fear over the outcome. They too feel that the country is extremely polarized when I can’t help but feel the opposite as I meet more and more people just slightly more moderate left or moderate right of me who shake their heads in disbelief over the extremes on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve never felt such overwhelming energy from the “80%” to collaborate for a better America and it really makes me really excited and hopeful for the future of this country.

    I’ll have to pass this on to my parents as you articulated my thoughts with so much more eloquence 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks so much, Meg. The response to this has been overwhelming (and positive).
      I pray that this will help your folks, because I believe they are being lied to by those who thrive on instability (kind of like terrorists thrive on instability). The people of this country are good people, and I honestly believe in hope and promise.
      – DEREK
      PS – people still don’t know who I voted for, and that’s just fine with me!


  14. Transformation! I get it. This post coincides with the work I do with organizations who are stuck on office politics, pointing the finger, personal agendas, and gridlock. I encourage folks to find common ground and connect around shared values. The nation can connect around shared love for our country. I’m hopeful that the USA can turn purple. Great stuff!


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