This has been an election season unlike any other. Reflections and experience have formed these thoughts for a while now, and I feel it is a good time to share. Purple has been my favorite color my whole life. I think it has something to do with the polyester plaid purple bell bottoms I wore nearly every day when I was 5. Little did I know then, how much purple would mean to me even to this day.
The political landscape has become, what some would call toxic, hate filled and unbearable. After living in Italy, I thought I would never witness more dysfunction in politics as I lived through there, but this takes the cake. For many years the divisions in our country have grown further apart, and the faith I had that would reverse those trends has diminished. I grew up with an interest in politics and as most followed the lead of my parents, Republicans. I quickly learned to have my own political identity and studied politics in college in Washington DC. It was during that time the Tea Party began to move Republicans further right and the fracturing of the party began. Moderate Republicans like McCain were far and few between the Evangelicals. I began to lean left. Likewise, the Democrats have begun their own splintering with the Progressives. It may be several more years before we see the demise of the Democrats as a result of this division.
What I do not see a lot of, however, is the moderates like me. Being able to work with both parties and understand that to work together is essential for governance. I believe that in order to move beyond the divisiveness we need more purples. Purples can sway red or blue and as such are preferred over lawmakers who are stuck in one color. I am always reminded of the examples of how lawmakers of diverse political thought can work together successfully. Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are just one such exemplar. Al Franken dedicated a section of his book Giant of the Senate to the idea that members of the Senate from different parties are friends and show respect for one another, even if they disagree politically. A tradition in the Senate that has withstood the test of time, and I hope shall continue long after I am gone.
The Election of 2020 will likely make the history books as a record turnout in early and mail ballots as well as in person voting. I hope the more elected officials make history and declare themselves as Purples.