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Basic elementary lesson: mix equal parts of two colors to create a third color, such as when blue and red are mixed to get the color purple.

The color purple is in our discussions more today than ever before. And it’s not because some kindergarteners hatched a plot to color the entire world purple — though given our current political climate, that might not be a bad idea.

Our place at the table called democracy has gotten ugly, real fast. I think our children right now would say, “Stop! Enough is enough,” and we would be proud because we taught them well. If only we practiced what we preached.

And then January 6 happened. A moment that will forever be a marker for just how bad “ugly” can get.

I believe a major reason for all of this political rhetoric and turmoil is boredom. We are bored with a pandemic that has wreaked havoc, we are bored with our socially distanced selves, we are bored with what’s on TV and we are bored with what we wear everyday. Some wear only blue, some wear only red. I say, let’s all of us add a dash of purple to our wardrobe.

While we are at it, let’s turn the TV off and hit the pause button on social media. Right now neither are good for the soul, and quite frankly both need to be fixed. Perhaps PBS or NPR could provide an unbiased hair rinse and a dye job of purple.

We are sentient beings who need to think and discover. When we get bored we seek anything that will give us a jolt, no matter the outcome. Today, social media is the caffeine that provides the quick fix. Politics knows this. Wild claims are perpetuated to convince us it’s red against blue, blue against red and us against us. When those with the bullhorn realize its power, anything can happen. The events of that day in January prove this.

Boredom has punctured our society, causing air to seep from the global ball. It has driven us into tribal factions, each seeking power. Like a drug, it is an addiction that, if left unchecked, will take over every waking minute.

What would happen if in our country we all embraced the color purple? No more red or blue, but an entire country washed in purple with all of us agreeing to ideologically disagree on certain issues, paradigms and policies; yet in the end we work together to do what’s best for future generations.

A word that has received little airplay this past year is compromise. For 2021, it should be the word, and it should be cloaked in purple. History is laden with great accomplishments when the colors red and blue blush as one.

Some people believe the color purple enhances creativity, sparks the imagination, fosters empathy, clears the mind and calms stress. We really need the color purple! The writer Alice Walker said: “Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want.” Is a future solely red or blue the end-all of our issues? It can’t be if we are honest with ourselves.

It is real simple; arguing and insults do not move the ball forward. They never have. Writing columns or devoting entire news organizations to propagate one color while persecuting a system of policy and beliefs of the other does not fix anything; it only spews fetid fuel onto a fire that will become uncontrollable.

A long time ago a group of men from all walks of life and backgrounds came together and compromised to make a more perfect union. The union was built on the belief in a goal to unite and make life better for all. Is it perfect? No. But it was not meant to be perfect nor the end-all of who we are.

The colors red and blue mean nothing if there is no paper to draw on. The colors sit alone, disenfranchised, collecting dust, growing old and getting angry. Each color is important and provides a splash of reality, perspective and a sense of self-worth. But purple, the coming together of red and blue, can be a great color — one that is respected, held in high esteem and leads rather than sits idle treading water in an angry swamp.

Seriously, can anyone say today the color purple is too progressive or “out there” given current trends in our society? All colors need respect and recognition. That “Crayola 64” box is just waiting to be opened again. The first color we should grab and put to use as a nation is the color purple.

RJ Heller, Down East contributor

RJ Heller, Down East contributor

RJ Heller is a journalist, essayist, photographer, author, an avid reader and an award-winning book critic who enjoys sailing, hiking and many other outdoor pursuits. He lives in Starboard Cove.