My Facebook wall is a bit like Switzerland. Neutral ground. I am the kind of person that tends to ignore what religion someone is or whether they have religion at all. That really doesn’t care what political party someone belongs to. What I value in a person is first how they treat those around them, second their intelligence, and third their sense of humor. As a result my friends list is like a social media Benetton ad. I chat with progressives, Tea Party conservatives, traditional liberals, Moderate Republicans, anarchists, Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Wiccans, Pagans of all stripes, Atheists, Agnostics and those who refuse all labels. There are people who think monogamy is the only way, people who believe in polyamory, and every kind of sexual orientation you can imagine.
The interesting thing is not that I am so varied in the people that I converse with; I’ve pretty much always been ecumenical in my acquaintanceships and friends. What is interesting is that they all talk to each other. On my wall. They find common ground in the things I share. They agree with each other and make each other laugh. All unaware that they exist on the other side of whatever line it is that divides them in life.
I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about this. The first being that those imaginary lines we use to define who we are are pointless, divisive and manufactured. They don’t really exist. They are something that politicians emphasize to make sure that you stay on their side of the line and vote for them. The second is that the vast majority of people are neither red nor blue in their world view. They are varying degrees of purple. And they have more in common with each other than they do with the extremists that tend to make the news and pursue careers as political pundits.
Although, the extremist pundits and loud mouths have things in common with each other. I have this recurring fantasy that involves Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore on a tandem bicycle. Don’t ask me why, the visual tickles me. I just believe that they are flip sides to a coin. They are both entertainers and showmen. Not experts. And I doubt the sincerity of them both. They are more the same than they are different. Prone to exaggeration, sensationalism and shock value. But I digress.
Politically our country is so divided right now. But it isn’t reality. It, like those lines, is manufactured. The actual people, the bulk of the populace, only thinks they are divided. They really are not where it counts. Yes, there is a division. But it exists between the polar ends of the spectrum. The people in the middle, which is where most people reside, are divided in name only. In philosophy, where it matters, they are very much the same. Certainly there are differences and points on a curve where they vary but they all want the same things at heart. They want to be able to feed their children and live reasonably. They want to be free to be themselves. They want the government to stay out of their business as much as is possible.
Gives me hope, my wall. Because someday, and that day may not be far off, the vast swathe of Purple People is going to realize this. And when that day comes? They will shake things up in a way that is beneficial for the whole world. I live for the day.
In case you are wondering, no, I am not going to tell you which of my friends is which if you do not already know. I am going to wait for 4 years or so and let you further develop connection, common ground and relationships with each other. And then…maybe I will start a grass roots political party of my own. One that encompasses all of us and the things that really matter like opportunity to make a living and freedom to be yourself. The flag will be purple and big enough to cover us all.