As far back as I can remember I have struggled with soft-serve ice cream. Not the lactose part, or even how it might be a bit unnatural to receive “ice cream” from a giant stainless steel box. My problem has always been the decision. Do I choose to enjoy the pure, classic taste of artificial vanilla flavoring, or should I elect to savor the exotic richness of chocolate? Perhaps many of you reading have always been confident in your choice, never wavering in your support of the traditional vanilla or the enigmatic chocolate. It has never been easy for me. The younger version of myself faced this epic conundrum on many occasions, and the paralysis of indecision still lingers in my memory. Then along came Harold “Wild Bill” Atkins, inventor of the valve allowing for the most glorious creations in soft-serve history, the swirl. When I discovered a choice was not necessary, I gleefully grabbed the handle in the middle and dispensed a flavorful mix of choco-vanilla goodness into my cone and/or bowl.
My avoidance of the purely homogeneous does not limit itself to food choices. I love mixing the various flavors of life. To get away, a trip to the beach or the mountains sounds equally appealing. (In fact, an alpine clearing near a coral reef might be the most perfect vacation spot in the world.) I avidly watch both American football and rest-of-the-world football (soccer for you Yanks.) I enjoy reading the book and watching the movie. (Although Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher has been a little difficult to wrap my brain around.) Conceivably, this dichotomy of tastes is due to my ability to see both sides of an argument. But, regardless of the reason, I know I enjoy the swirl.
Perhaps this particular character trait of mine has led to my current discomfort with the social and political climate in the United States. I am well aware some of my friends and family are politically conservative. I love and respect you for your passion and dedication to your values. On the flip side of the political coin, I am well aware some of my friends and family are politically liberal. I love and respect you for your passion and dedication to your values. To those of you who bleed Republican red, I want you to know I agree with some of your political ideas. Additionally, I adamantly disagree with certain aspects of the conservative platform. To those of you who bleed Democrat blue, I want you to know I disagree with some of the liberal platform. However, there are also political ideas proposed by liberals I find agreeable.
My problem is with the noise. All one hears, from media, on social media, or during social hour, is red noise or blue noise. It is as if both parties are shouting their agendas at the top of their lungs. Then, with their next breath, disparaging the ideas of the other party. Amidst all the partisan rhetoric I want to ask, “Where is my representation? Who speaks for me?” I cannot even choose between chocolate and vanilla soft-serve. How am I supposed to back any politician who only sees the country in terms of red or blue? Where is the political version of the vanilla-chocolate swirl? I do not want red or blue, I’ll take the swirl. Give me purple.