Red + Blue = Purple

Enough already, about “red states” and “blue” states. I’m tired of hearing everybody talk about it, frankly. I think Republicans are taking far too much comfort in it, and Democrats are bashing themselves far too much too.

I’ve been emailing with friends in New York who seem to feel that they’re surrounded by nothing but backwoods, redneck, red-state folks. First off, not all Republicans are backwoods, rednecks. And second off, what am I, chopped liver? I live in a so-called “red state.” Heck, I live in a so-called red county. But, I can tell you from first hand experience, Democrats even in here sometime. Winking

Point is, it seems to me the whole “red/blue” dichotomy” is overblow and oversold to us. There are no TRULY red states, and there are no truly blue states. The bluest of blue states has a solid minority of Republicans, and vice-versa…

I knew this intuitively, because I have lived it my whole life here in Texas. But, low and behold, just after the election, somebody actually did research. You know, a real academic type with spreadsheets, charts, graphs and stuff like that.

The first thing I found, was this blog and this really cool purple map created by Jeff Culver. As you can clearly see, there is not one truly red state (even Utah….). Nor are there any solidly blue states (not even Mass…) Almost every state falls somewhere along the spectrum, and most states trend more toward purple than either red or blue.

A real academic, Robert Vanderbei , created this map here that shows the same theory, only done on a county-by-county basis. He’s also got a lot of useful and interesting info on voting and populations densities, and things like that.

I’ve seen some other maps that twist and contort the US based on population and voting. But I just like the good old red/blue/purple distinctions….because it makes it so utterly clear that we are not one or the other…we are BOTH.

To my mind, that means Democrats ought not to be so depressed, and Republicans not too proud.

All this caused me to get into songwriter mode, and I’ve written my own post-election song, called “Purple Land.” You can learn more about it here. You can hear a demo (that I’m already dissatisfied with…) by going here .

Here’s to our Purple Land!


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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