Lori Falce: Where has all the purple gone?
I don’t agree with you.
I don’t believe the same things that you believe.
I don’t want the same things that you want.
I don’t think the same way you think.
None of that needs to be the first step in a battle to the death of my will against yours. It is a great first step in a conversation, a friendship, even — as I can tell you from experience — a marriage. Because even the people you agree with most shouldn’t be mirrors for everything you think and feel.
There was a time that our political parties came in their own rainbow of shades. Red wasn’t just red. It was wine and scarlet and cherry and pink. Blue was everything from navy to teal to sky. There was a Crayola world of purples and violets in the middle.
Now we seem to have decided that red is red, blue is blue and purple is an abomination. And both sides are at fault for forcing their adherents to surrender nuance and minor dissension in favor of lockstep unanimity to be part of the club.
Democrats must support X Republicans must condemn Y. Every vote is a vote along party lines because there are only party lines anymore.
Politics has become “Heathers” or “Mean Girls,” a game where a handful make the rules, keep the score and act as the referees. Break those rules and ruin is swift and assured.
And though the thing we seem to need now more than anything is centrists who can hear each issue as it comes up without a preconceived idea of the left or right box it must be assigned to so the faithful masses can dutifully applaud or condemn it, those people who occupied the middle ground have vanished. They were primaried or vilified or they just read the tea leaves and picked a side if they wanted to stay in the game or quietly withdrew if they didn’t.
We have to remember that we need all those shades. There is no game where anyone wins just staying in their own furthest corner. You have to play the whole board.
We need different opinions because they bring us new ideas. They are how we get innovation and enlightenment. They challenge us to bring our best to the table. Sometimes they even change our minds. Sometimes we even change theirs.
I want to argue with you.
I want to talk to people who don’t believe what I believe.
I want to listen to people who don’t want what I want.
I want to hear from people who don’t think the way I think.
I want everyone to have an idea and an opinion and a voice. No matter what color your opinion is.
Lori Falce is the Tribune-Review Community Engagement Editor. You can contact Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org.