It’s hard being ‘blue’ in Alabama

Published 12:44 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

“It’s not easy being green.”

Kermit the Frog sang those words in an attempt to describe how it felt to be different from those around him who were not green.

These days I feel a little like Kermit, except the lyrics to my song are, “It’s not easy being blue.” I’m experiencing what it feels like to be a political color that is different from the majority of folks around me, and sometimes it is, as Kermit sang, not easy.

Of course, on the flip side of that coin, I imagine there is a mirror image of me living in a blue state feeling the difference of being red. And like me, she may be somewhat hesitant to declare too loudly her color of choice this political season.

As we head toward Election Day, I’ve been giving some thought to the ways we divide ourselves in this world. And this campaign presents us with an opportunity to see just how much division is possible.

In my own personal circle, I have friends and family who are on opposite sides of the fence. There have even been times when our choices caused friction despite how much we care for and respect each other.

Expand that experience to a national level and it has at times boiled over into anger and just plain nastiness. Fueling the fire of division is uncertainty about the state of the economy and the pressures of a world that is much smaller these days.

We all want the same things — security, safety and a chance to pass on a better world to the next generation. Unfortunately the political process puts different words on the same desires and then demands we choose sides. And once we choose, it often becomes our way or no way — thus our divided country.

What I’ve come to realize these past few days is that for the majority of us the voting choice is already made; perhaps was set in concrete months ago.

I have done what my Daddy suggested on more than one occasion — tested the message for myself. I found in my own heart the one I feel comes less from a place promoting fear and more from a place of hopefulness because that is what matters to me.

After listening to all the words of the candidates — not just the sound bites played over and over in ads and newscasts — I decided which message fit with my own values, made me feel the most promise for the future. Having done that, nothing I hear from the red side is changing my mind. And I know nothing I say is going to change a committed red voter to blue.

So maybe at this point, letting it be and respecting each other’s views and choices is the best thing to do.

At the end of his song, Kermit concludes that being green is fine. He doesn’t expect everyone to be green, but he appreciates the good there is in being himself and the good that exists in the uniqueness of others.

When it comes to politics, I’m blue. You may call yourself red or you might not identify with any political party and go by the name independent.

No matter what color we declare ourselves with our votes our country will still be what makes it great — a land of Kermits of many colors and cultures and religions and dreams who come together under the red, white and blue to form one nation, a nation that thankfully gives each of us the freedom to sing our own song.