Top political idiocy of 2004: "Red states, Blue states"

Enough! The use of this red-blue dichotomy must come to a screeching halt. There are no Red states, or Blue states… or red-white-blue enclaves of conservatism or liberal ism in our cartographic, political landscape. Furthermore, the mixing of colors in that political palette that makes America look purplish at a distance is pure poppycock. We are all Americans living side-by-side, all neighbors… all looking at the many facets of life, politics included, through our own personal prism.

The Electoral College system for selecting the head of our nation has given the media political pundits a simplistic dichromatic way to keep us tuned in and, presumably, informed. And it has shown something else. By resorting to monochromatic winner-take-all, it evidenced our lack of democratic wisdom by retaining a process which may have had a valid purpose in the past, but it’s now the archetype of political anachronism.

If we feel nostalgia for our childhood's crayolas and wish to make color-sense of today's political realities using them, perhaps we should be coloring the many counties and states in the nation, not in red and blue but in different shades of yellow and green, the band in the spectrum that stands in between.

It makes absolutely no sense to blue-stigmatize Republican voters in Michigan and Minnesota, or to red-stigmatize Democratic voters in Florida and Ohio. And the same holds true for other counties and states in the nation… save few- perhaps those where over two thirds of the voters acted as if of one political mind. Three states, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming bypassed all shades of yellow and sled into the orange hue; and the District of Columbia colored itself Cerulean when it gave Kerry almost 90% of its votes. But, except for those voters, barely comprising 1.5% of all votes cast in the 2004 presidential election, communities, counties and states were overwhelmingly in the yellow-green zone. To identify 98.5% of voters by virtue of residency as Republican-red or Democratic-blue is not just nonsensical… it insults our intelligence.

Voting results did color states in several shades of yellow: from Dandelion (Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alabama, Kansas and Alaska); to Goldenrod (Texas, Indiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Kentucky and Montana); to Canary (Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina and West Virginia); to LightYellow (Arizona, Illinois, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado).

And in like manner, in several shades of green: from SpringGreen (Florida, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa and Wisconsin); to LimeGreen ( New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and New Jersey); to JungleGreen ( Delaware, Washington, Hawaii, Maine, California and Connecticut); to Emerald (Maryland, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts).

Like it or not, we all became caught up in the duopolistic sentencing of states as either red or blue. By submitting to this red-blue demarcation, we accepted political castration for just about half of the voting population… those living in states where their party did not receive the largest number of votes. Two crayons… that‘s all we needed; or so we were told.

Our political leaders, and to a great extent much of the media, have been narrowing our universe of choices to just two. We are being asked to side with either good or evil; upholders of moral values or the nation's heathen; wealth producers or societal parasites; advocates of fetus-life or proponents of choice; those "with us” or those "against us”; patriots or apologists; and now... a nation politically divided by geography of red or blue.

Please… stop underestimating us! We are not a nation of two-crayon people; nor are most of us color-impaired. We’re quite capable of distinguishing different hues, ready to use the standard 24-crayola box, or perhaps even the custom 64. Don’t dumb us down with simplistic terminology- not in economics, not in socio-moral issues, not in politics.

Let’s hope that the political red-blue idiocy experienced in 2004 was not a total loss, giving this nation a colorful red and blue reason to junk the Electoral College once and for all.