“My son went to in person school for one day then the county issued a purple alert and school was closed again.” This mother is lamenting the stress of dealing with changes due to the rise in Covid cases in her county.
Purple Tier refers to a Level 4 alert, the highest risk factor for Coronavirus danger. It indicates a severe exposure and spread and asks that people only leave home for supplies and services.
“My state of Arizona used to vote red but turned blue for Biden, so now we are a purple state.” This indigenous woman joined other young voters as they rode 2 hours on horseback to vote in the USA Presidential election of 2020.
A purple state refers to a swing or “battleground” state, where both Republican and Democratic candidates receive strong support without an overwhelming majority.
I look out my second-floor window and see the Trump 2020 banner on the wall inside the open garage of my neighbor’s house. The house next to it is flying what looks like an American flag but says “Pro-America, Anti-Trump.” These same people have kids who cross into each other’s yards and play together in the day. The parents pass each other in the evening when they push strollers and walk their dogs in the cul de sac. But they do not talk about politics.
I know a family who cancelled their weekly zoom visit because a few were blue Democrats and most were red Republicans and the fighting over politics turned to name-calling, anger and hurt. This hardening into ideological camps has divided families. Each camp follows only one information channel. I look at a photo of my cousin, when he was a kid. He looks so cute and innocent. I can’t believe he has climbed on the wrong political train. It is almost like a feeling of betrayal, because it is so hard to believe that he drinks the Kool-Aid of distortion. Yet, my cousin probably feel the same way about me. Maybe this is a small taste of what the Civil War felt like when families took opposite sides, one fighting to preserve a way of life, the other to end slavery.
When there is as much division politically as there is in the USA right now, people easily see evil intent on the other side. Conspiracy theories abound, adding fear and anger in a desperate attempt to either keep power or overthrow it. People scream at each other until they turn blue in the face. No one seems able to listen.
Take Christianity. The new “Patriot churches” are aligned with an authoritarian government and see right wing politics as the will of God. The left wing “Faithful America” fights to have Christianity seen as carrying Jesus’s mantel for social justice and helping the poor and dispossessed. These two camps take aim at each other and both claim that God (as they understand Him) is on their side. Meantime, I picture God shaking his head like Rodney King saying, “Can’t we all just get along?”
An election has just ended and it is time to braid red and blue threads together across the land. I don’t have much hope for coming together but, now that the election is over, I hope that the angry rhetoric dies down so people can walk down the street and smile at each other. It is time to accept reality and hope for humanity to rise. It is time to keep an eye on a sky when purple clouds warn of a surge in Covid. It is time to heal.
I look out the window. The brown-haired 5-year-old boy just crossed the lawn to the neighbor’s house and asked the two blond sisters to ride bikes with him. Their voices rise in excitement as they strap on helmets and disappear down the road. Together.