Have a big enough heart to love unconditionally, and a broad enough mind to embrace the differences that make each of us unique. D.B. Harrop

Have a big enough heart to love unconditionally, and a broad enough mind to embrace the differences that make each of us unique. D.B. Harrop

As any elementary school art student knows, purple is the combination of two primary colors: red and blue. Today’s newsletter asks our readers to consider how we are handling our national crisis with the coronavirus through this author’s “colors” metaphor. And, as usual, we will consider this topic within the context of our other favorite metaphor, “the snowman.”

But back to colors. For purposes of our discussion, let’s view “Blue” as representative of our serious and legitimate medical concerns. In turn, “Red” is our symbol for social, economic, and even psychological concerns visited upon us by the virus. As we consider conversations that we are having among those close to us, endless presentations in the media, and our own mental processing of what is happening around us (our operative beliefs), shades of purple emerge.

Or not.

There are purists to be found in both camps. “Blue” thinkers see only adverse medical impact and tragedy and, to be sure, those images are real. “Red only” believers see global initiatives as overreactions and, increasingly, they are seeing the solution as more damaging than the original disease itself. Like the weather, we see trends of public opinion vacillate toward one primary color or the other. Opinions regarding appropriate action in the face of the corona are strong; facts pointing us toward the proper direction are scarce. Politicians and other leaders seem to be stumbling and weaving as they search a rational strategy for balancing “red” and “blue” issues.

It would be arrogant for this author to claim prescient wisdom while our decision-makers continue to flounder. So, instead, I’ll offer only two suggestions for coping with this difficult time. First, show respect to everyone, particularly those whose opinion dIffers from yours. Lacking respect, “blue” people will see “red” people as reckless and inhuman. Conversely, “red” people will see “blue” people as hysterics who seek to deny personal freedom through governmental edict. What’s the remedy for purist thinkers? Solution: Bite your tongue, listen, and show respect.

Second, assume personal responsibility for your own life and your resulting behavioral choices. Clearly, those already sick and the elderly have legitimate fears regarding their own vulnerability. For them, isolation is essential and reasonable. On the other hand, the need to work and pursue other valid life functions is a reasonable desire, particularly for those who are less susceptible to the more dire consequences to exposure.

Today’s article is a sort of “litmus test” for my readers. Your leaning toward “red” or “blue” thinking should become clear as you feel yourself agreeing (or disagreeing) with points made in this newsletter. In past editions, I have suggested that a secret to better life functioning can be found by “going against tendencies.” Finding balance is discovered by recognizing our personal leanings and pushing against them. Gamblers need to lean toward more secure choices; those who stash dollars in their mattress must seek more productive locations for their savings. And so on.

In summary, we will all do better in these trying times, by showing respect and assuming responsibility for our behavioral choices. As always, I welcome your input and observations. Email me at:

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. Bryant H. McGill