The role of color has become pervasive in America’s politics. Red States, Blue States and states that are becoming purple by adding more brown voters. To anyone who has ever mixed finger paints, getting to purple by adding brown to red makes no sense at all.
Then, of course, there is the issue of the President’s color. According to Crayola’s Color Palette, his complexion is Blast Off Bronze, although the less precise among us continue to refer to the president as “black”. This, in spite of the fact that his mother was a Kansas woman whose complexion matched most closely with Crayola’s Banana Mania. Neither she nor her offspring ever came close to the total absence of color, which is the official definition of black. Unsurprisingly, Mulatto and High Yellow are absent from the Crayola Color Palette. These terms have apparently fallen out of favor as identifiers for those of mixed race. As a result, one rarely hears them used in reference to the president, at least in polite company. I believe we can use Blast Off Bronze without fear of offense.
According to the Crayola Color Palette, the current Speaker of the House’s complexion is Burnt Sienna. Some continue to say “orange” but a quick review of Crayola’s Multicultural Color Chart gives the lie to this notion. If one browses through all of Crayola’s Color Palette, Speaker Boehner might more accurately be described as Tumbleweed, a somewhat lighter version of Burnt Sienna. Thinking of Speaker Boehner as Tumbleweed gives me great joy.
Even the basic Red State/Blue State identifiers are not as clear-cut as they could be. First, prior to the presidential election of 2000, the color codes for conservative vs. liberal states were basically reversed from the current trend of red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. In days of yore, blue was associated with caution, traditional values and laissez faire. Red was associated with revolution, progressive proletariat values and upheaval of the status quo. As late as the 1980 landslide Reagan victory, when the 44-state Republican victory map was shown on television, David Brinkley referred to the map as “looking like a suburban swimming pool”.
A review of the Crayola Color Palette suggests that if we are to continue the red/blue state color identifiers, we could use colors more politically descriptive. My choices would be Jellybean in place of red and Denim replacing blue. Jellybean, a very serviceable red, is also reminiscent of Ronnie Reagan, as jellybeans were his favorite sweet treat. Although, we’re told, he preferred the licorice beans which are black, a rather delicious irony given today’s politics.
Denim, a recognizable blue honoring America’s love affair with bluejeans seems apt for representing liberal sensibilities. Denim is the unpretentious color of hard work, the fabric of union workers, the uniform of the college professor when combined with cable knit cardigans and the raw material for highly overpriced fashion jeans favored by the entertainment crowd.
As for the Purple States, those formerly Jellybean but morphing into purple via the addition of hordes of Denim-minded voters, I suggest that we instead use Crayola’s Twilight Lavender, a lovely purple hue. Given that many of the Jellybean persuasion consider the state-by-state transition from red to purple to be an indicator of the decline of Western Civilization, Twilight Lavender communicates both the facts on the ground and the portent of a fading empire.
Color confusion reigns amongst the political class in general. For instance, insiders tell me that Governor Brownback of Kansas doesn’t actually have a brown back. His back, apparently, is more Apricot.
Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida is actually Chestnut, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is far closer to Peach and Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia is more Lemon Lime Zing. (If Rep. Broun pronounced his name as did the more sophisticated Heywood Hale Broun, he wouldn’t have made this post at all.)
Rep. Al Green (no, not that Al Green) of Texas is actually Copper Penny and Rep. Gene Green–which is a fun, fun name to say out loud–is definitely Maize.
Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio is pretty much as her name implies. So too Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona. Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, however, is actually somewhere between Classic White and Lumber. Confusing? You betcha.
Finally, I was expecting Rep. John Mica of Florida to be Classic White with Glitzy Gold Glitter, but there was no evidence of anything about this congressman that sparkled in his official Congressional bio picture.
All of these musings, while primarily an enormous waste of your valuable time, simply reinforce the notion that politicians are not always (never?) what they seem and very often act the age of those for whom Crayolas are produced.
Observoid of the Day: When attacked by a pack of clowns, always go for the juggler.