The topic of this blog has to do with the matter of whether one lives in a red or blue state, especially since it seems a matter of crucial interest (to put it mildly) to heads of the Federal Government, namely Donald Trump, as here I include Mitch McConnell as head of the Senate, as we know there are others.
Now, just moments after I listened to my hero of the moment, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, give what I experienced as a patriotic address emphasizing that no state or person is red or blue alone but rather, red, white and blue, as in the American flag and as in “American”. Afterwards I heard very briefly Trump’s iteration of the evil of Democrats and Democratic states, and therefor of the House of Representatives as being “blue” as opposed to the Senate as red.
As I listened, I found myself thinking literally. Well, I thought, I am in Colorado where we have a Democratic, gay and Jewish Governor and a highly Trump loyal Senator. What does that mean about the color of our state? There are some Republicans, to get right to it, in this state, right? So then: What does Trump’s dismissing and demeaning of the nothing of “bailing out” blue states imply for us here in Colorado?
Even in really “blue” states such as New York, the tide is always pulled to blue by New York City, even when outlying and faraway counties pronounce their majority as red. Besides there must be some people in either red or blue states, who identify with the other color, that is if they don’t dare come out as independent or unaffiliated. Right? Will we then be fated to see — no bailout for a given city, or a given borough or a given neighborhood, or might we be heading towards looking at the door of each dwelling to see a sign of color coordinated politics?
One of the reasons that as a chronologically older grownup I have liked Passover with less fervor than earlier, has to do with my distaste for an Angel of Death that would kill Egyptian male children and spare the Jewish male children because the Jews had a sign of lamb’s blood above their doors. Blood is definitely red but there was not yet talk of Democrats and Republicans, at least not then.
What does all this talk say about us as a country? Well, I can talk about myself even if not quite with suave articulateness, because I am anxious about the bloodlines being drawn, or more accurately the color lines of politics becoming the deciding factor in whether we get help or not. Governor Cuomo (of New York, as we established definitely blue) had said that the deciding factor in decisions to open or not, should rate matters of human life as the most valuable of all. And then I come to hear the echo in my head, saying what color are we, those who are being considered or being left decidedly behind, in the current politics-is-all atmosphere of our nation.
Racism isn’t new or singularly relevant to any one person or group. And this is not to rationalize the prevalence of racism in many parts of our nation. But I suddenly feel/ know that I could get help or be refused based now on the color of my vote, or by the color of the majority of my state’s vote. Is this perhaps a new brand of racism, one based still on color but now adding color of one’s vote?
I am nervous, as a child might be in the middle of a catastrophe. The anxiety comes, it seems psychologically, from having someone in charge who is also chaotic. The plague of coronavirus is upsetting, but at least for me and those I’m close with, having a leader who is honest also about having made mistakes regarding having underestimated the effects and oncoming of this plague, can help. It turns out, and I know this from way back — from having worked with seriously troubled youngsters in a residential treatment center, that even kids who are very challenged, can cope better if there is calm and as much clarity as possible coming from important adults.
I do not want to be defined by color, even though I know by now that I was ignorant and in denial regarding my own definite experience of white privilege. Right now, I want to be swept up with the humanizing influences and people of this time in our lives — by those who give and give a damn, who care and who help and who are kind. I don’t want to drink in the anxiety of those who would be king or emperor at any cost. And yet, I’m afraid that the inhaling of that anxiety is a health hazard in its own right.
A question I have to people is: Do you really think of people as coming from a red or blue state only? Do you really not want to help people in a state of a color different than your voting preference?
A reluctant but compulsive optimist I ask you: Do we really need to assign the red or blue as labels that would obliterate the complexity and beauty of each of us? I don’t have an answer yet to the question in my title, though I know one of our biggest problems is the tendency to reduce people to color, race, religion, economic status, and yes political party.
I want, if anything, to enlist some passion across the colors of the rainbow, in eliminating the hatred that is endemic in too much of our society, and in questions about who lives and who dies.
#Red and blue states; coronavirus; Trump; Andrew Cuomo; racism