For me it started early. Back in ’99, Pokemon was all the rage, and you had just two choices: Red or Blue. Even before then, on Nickelodeon game shows like Double Dare and all the others, and also on other hit shows like American Gladiators, everyone was divided into one of two teams: Red or Blue. Then subconsciously, every four years, when great athletes like George W. Bush and Al Gore, or Bush and Kerry, or Barack Obama and John McCain, raced to the finish to strike with the gold, I watched in childish wonder as one by one, the fifty States were painted on TV, Red or Blue.
The week before last I went to a political rally of sorts with my dad, sponsored by the group Conservatives for Guilford County. Now, I’m about as far from a political conservative as you can get without knowing what political party you belong to (on my Facebook page, my political views are ambiguously “Hopeful”), and I found I disagreed with a lot of what the speakers said, although on the flipside, there were a couple people I really came to like, and would even vote for if they were running in my district. But enough of all that: One thing in particular stuck with me, one thing that a woman had said with utmost sincerity in her voice, and you know when people are genuinely sincere, that if they’re speaking with prejudice, it’s a sad state of affairs we’ve come to be in. So she said: “I never thought I’d see the day when North Carolina would be a Blue State.”
It sounded innocent enough at the time, but it stuck with me and resurfaced like an addictional craving over the past weekend, when first we came together on Saturday to watch the fireworks after Asheboro’s baseball game and then again yesterday, on Sunday, in Archdale, to watch the fireworks at their Fourth of July Fun Festival. As we were parked on the port side of the highway entrance ramp and watched the stadium lights flick off and the fireworks start, my sister remarked: “If we could be as united as we are on the Fourth of July every day, we’d be a great country.”
And it’s true: The number of people each day was staggering, and their diversity paramount: The more really was the merrier, as people of different races, religions, ethnicities, origins, genders, sexualities, ages, and right- and left-handedness came together and played together and danced and cheered together and sat together and helped each other when balloons fell a far ways away or when on the dark path, almost walked into each other, or even better, at the end of the day yesterday, when people were racing forwards to merge before the right-lane ended and a man pulled up to us and rode with us side-by-side with our car to ensure that people merged safely and fairly further up the rode.
It really was a great moment. Food, fun, and fireworks. It all came together. It worked.
It stopped, for a moment, being about whether we were Red or Blue.
It wasn’t about Red or Blue.
It was about Red and Blue.
And White, as the flags flew above us each in our minds. As a student of math and an avid ingester of science, I see white beyond the narrow scape of race and race alone. I see white in two ways, really: First as the absence of color, as in pigments as in paints, when no colors are present there’s white, and when they all come together it’s a blotchy black mess. And second in the way of light, that ethereal component of all matter and energy itself: when there’s an absence, there’s nothing–not even blackness–but then when all the colors come together, you have the purest of white lights–the purest form of White.
We’re visual creatures. We see the world in 8-bits, 24-bits, 32-bits, and for the best of us even 48-bits–a whopping 281.5 trillion colors–say that again, slowly this time: 281.5 trillion colors. In the real world, though, no longer bound by computer graphics, there are even more colors than that, and there aren’t nearly as many people in the world, so it’s no far cry to say that each of us is our own color, unique and unlike anyone else, ever before and ever after. And when we all come together under one nation, we stop being a blotch of beings, but become a swash of the truest color White.
It’s not about Black or White. It’s not about Red or Blue.
It’s about one thing, and one thing only.
It’s about Red, White, and Blue.