For many years, Kermit the Frog has complained that it isn’t easy being green. In a world filled with the normal hues that range from black to brown, red, yellow, and white, Kermit didn’t find any amphibian greenish hues. This absence of green made Kermit feels odd man out—or more precisely, odd frog out.
To be honest, I merely laughed at Kermit when he sang of his color plight. However, I can now identify with Kermit. My personal pining is about it not being easy being blue. I am totally immersed in all things related to blueness. Even a casual reader of my columns for the past dozen years would agree that I am left of center and well into the issues with a pronounced blue hue.
When I was very young, there was a lot that I didn’t understand. However, as I get older, I thought that I would understand life more and more. Not so! The things that I don’t get are increasing and making me more and more blue.
My wife commented recently after one of my rants about life, “It must be difficult living within your head. You have so many issues about the world that upset you.” She’s correct. I do live in a perplexing world, and it seems few others do.
For example, it isn’t easy being blue while living in a red state, a bright red state. With few exceptions, most Hoosiers aren’t bothered by what troubles me. On the rare occasion that someone sees what I see, they don’t dwell on it. They merely let it roll off their unconcerned backs and move on.
At the top of my blue list is the war in Iraq. I’m troubled by how we are imposing upon another nation our brand of democracy. In addition, I am equally blue over how few share my concerns. There are a lot of Iraqis and much of the rest of the world that are blue in the face with anger over the war but not many Americans. Why is it difficult for us to understand that we wouldn’t want someone invading our country because they are on a “mission” from God? Besides, if there is a country in the world that could benefit from democracy, why not start with the North Koreans? Answer: they don’t have oil fields.
While I am troubled by all things political, I also get bent out of shape over sexism on TV. Whether I watch football or the cable news networks, blatant sexism is rampant. Am I the only one that thinks that women are being placed in front of the TV camera more for “eye candy” and less for what they can contribute to our understanding of the game or the news?
Then there is the issue of importing prescription drugs from places outside the States. The administration doesn’t want to go down that road out of fear that they couldn’t safeguard the quality or safety of the imported drugs. However, when the flu shot shortage occurred, Washington quieted the fears of millions of Americans by saying that they could fill some of the shortage of shots by importing them from Canada! Why is it okay for Washington to import drugs and not the states or individuals? No one even seemed to notice or to get blue in the face over this contradiction—except me. In addition, there was a system already in place that safeguarded the quality of the shots that were made in England that caused the shortage. The whole flu shot hubbub illustrated how safeguards did work.
Still another issue has to do with trans fatty acids. Back in July of 2003, the administration announced that trans fatty acids were a significant health risk and that we needed to be apprised of this life-threatening problem. Therefore, Washington will require posting amounts of trans fatty acids along with the other nutritional facts listed on all foods product. If it is so detrimental to our health, why has Washington allowed the food companies thirty months to convert to the labeling requirement? Does any one think that companies needed two and a half years to set the type for new labels? Get real; the health lobby has less money than the food lobby.
Another blue issue is the flap about not using antiseptic soaps, hand wipes, and tissues. On the one hand, we hear that we are living in a sea of germs that are out to get us. We hear the cautionary concern about using these antiseptic products, since we are merely killing weak germs and allowing deadly germs to thrive. In the wake of the shortage of flu shots, Washington suggests washing our hands more often—killing wimpy germs while allowing the more viral one to attack.
To my untroubled friends, it may be easy being red, but the time may come if you don’t consider some of these issues that you will be really--red in the face. Until then, move over Kermit; it isn’t easy being blue.