Politically Purple

Like a good portion of the population, I'm driven crazy by politics. I hate them, hate them, hate them. And that's in non-election years. Right now, I want to throw a hammer at the television half the time.

One of my earliest memories about politics came when I was a teen and two former sister missionaries who had served under my parents came to visit us. They had recently done internships in Washington, one in a Republican's office, the other in a Democrat's.

My parents asked them about their current political opinions. Now that they'd seen both sides of the aisle first-hand, what did they think?

I'll always remember what one of them said: "I hate both parties." She went on to explain how each side had some great things going for it, but they both had major blind spots as well. While one party valued X, it made things much worse for Y. Meanwhile, the other party might take great care of Y but tended to be completely damaging to Z and sometimes even X.

As an adult, I get that. Both parties have a lot to offer. Both have a lot of baggage that I think they could get rid of and be better. Neither party is one I really want representing me.

So what do I do? Which party to I support? Neither, really. I'm not blue, and I'm not red. I consider myself politically purple.

I finally have a child old enough to "get" politics and form his own opinion about them. It's been interesting to see him change sides, express disbelief or frustration over something a candidate has said, and ask Mom and Dad their opinion on matters.

Yesterday he reported watching part of the presidential debate in his U. S. History class. The result made me laugh and think of my own 13-year-old self listening to those former interns. Up to this point, my son had a definite favorite in the race, but following the debate, his bubble had burst a bit.

"McCain and Obama were just the same," he told me. "Half the time their answers had nothing to do with the questions!"

Yes, son. That's politics for you. Let's hear it for the purples among us.


Cheryl said…
I tend to lean R just because most moral policies aline with my own. But I've always been a Purple like you. Both parties stink! And I'm always voting for the lesser of the two evils.
And this year is no different, unfortunately.
Larsens said…
I never understood why we have only 2 major parties here in the U.S. That really doesn't give much of a choice for millions of people. I can't vote anyway because I'm not a citizen but more choices would seem like a good idea....like in Finland.
Melanie J said…
I like politics. I just hate all the people screaming on the TV about politics. I'd love to just be able to listen to or read about what the candidates think without anyone trying to tell me what they meant. I can figure it out, you know? Sigh. I've chosen a party only so I could vote in our state's primaries, but honestly, every vote I cast is an issue by issue thing rather than a choice for a certain party all the time. I bet anyone looking at my votes would think I was schizophrenic or something, but I like not being boxed in.
Annette Lyon said…
Yeah, the 2-party system is crazy. Too bad that the smaller parties haven't managed to get any traction.

Melanie, I've done the same thing for the same reason. I was sick of not being able to vote in my own primary, so I picked one so I'd actually have a voice.
Yeah, purple sounds pretty good about now. Ironically, in Obama's first book, he suggests doing away with the 2-party system as well.
Tirzah said…
Yay for the Purple party!
Web said…
Hooray to his history teacher for tying it to the real world! :)
I thought the debate should have been done by Saturday Night Live. I loved their Palin-Clinton bit.

Yeah, it's always bugged me that politicians don't answer the questions.
Ines said…
I'm definitely purple.
Motherboard said…
I was talking with someone recently about this very issue. I tend to be purple as well. It has always seemed to me that the demos are clear over there in left field and the Repos are clear over there in right field and then majority of Americans are right here in center field.

It is mind boggling that we are "choose" sides when neither really give a fair or clear representation of what "real" Americans want.

Great post!
Luisa Perkins said…
I'm also enjoying my boys learn about things and form their own opinions! It's one of the perqs of parenthood.
3 for school said…
I hear you! Wasn't it George Washington who cautioned against a 2-party system? But with the cost of running for office, more parties might be mind boggling . . . or could it actually cost less?
Jennie said…
There's actually a good reason for having a two party system. It's the only system that makes a majority vote possible. If we had ten parties, we could elect a president with only an 11% approval vote. With two years of campaigning, I think we're all feeling sick of politics. The long campaign has left us with choices made too long before the election who aren't necessarily who we would choose now, it has allowed too much time for maneuvering and manipulating the system, and the media has become the real political force by upstaging the candidates or by presenting slanted, biased stories painting favorites in glowing colors and turning the small mistakes of less favored candidates into mountainous errors. I think we'll all be glad when this less than stellar exercise in democracy is over even though I suspect most of us won't be pleased with the outcome, whichever candidate is elected.
Julie Wright said…
I am totally purple. I always vote for the person and not the party. Purple rocks!
samiam said…
Hear, hear! I refuse to claim a party because why should I have to agree with things I don't agree with just because the group says so. I usually just say I'm a conservative.
Kimberly said…
I'm the Canadian equivalent of purple. I tend to ignore the party issues and focus on the person. Perhaps not the most educated of decisions, but it suits me. We had a gal running once and she went in to the local city hall to pay her parking ticket. My mum, who worked there, overheard the guy behind the counter saying that she didn't have to worry about it. Apparently she arched her eyebrow at him and said that she'd broken the rules and she was going to deal with the consequences. That kind of attitude I can respect. That I can vote for.
The similarities are starting to freak me out, Annette. I'm as purple as they come. Great blog!
An Ordinary Mom said…
Yep, I am purple, too. Just don't confuse me with a big purple dinosaur.

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