(Field Guide Included)
By now, most of us have noticed a paradigm shift that has made traditional political labels obsolete.
Red versus Blue (Republican conservative right-wing versus Democrat liberal left-wing) seemed to work for the last century, but it's not working for the mess we're in now.
The binary opposition began to fall apart late in the 20th century, when the Cold War between capitalist west and communist east came to an end. The alleged triumph of capitalism, celebrated as the End of History, allowed U.S. politicians of both major parties who were loyal to corporate oligarchy to claim the mainstream and call themselves visionary moderates.
When both Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton declared the end of Big Government, it was a hint that Red and Blue were already blending.
Then the 21st century arrived. Fractures punctuated by the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 economic meltdown, and the election of Donald Trump in 2016 pushed us into new terrain.
It's time to retire the Red vs. Blue paradigm and replace them with new colors. I propose Orange, Purple, and Green.
Some will argue that the tri-color scheme is reductionist. That's correct, but it's a reduction far more accurate and useful now than the Red and Blue binary. Donald Trump doesn't fit the Red mold set by Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, or even Reagan. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) represent competing ideologies within the Democratic Party.
What do the three colors mean? I'll begin with Orange.
Orange: Blood, Soil, and Faith
By blood, I mean white supremacy, not ethnic pride. By soil, I mean nationalism, not love of one's country. By faith, I mean theocracy and fundamentalism beyond personal devotion and practice of one's religion.
The 20th century gave us an array of colors for ultra-right movements: Italian Blackshirts and the Black Sun of Nazi occultism, Hitler's Brownshirt stormtroopers, Aryan white and KKK bedsheets.
Instead, let's use a 21st-century symbol: the preternatural orange tint of a certain president's coif. Am I the first to notice?
The current slogan of the Orange crowd is "Make America Great Again," shouted in support of ideas like President Trump's border wall, a fake solution to a fake emergency based on an appeal to white panic over brown-skinned immigrants. Oranges love scapegoats.
Contrary to social media memes, Donald Trump himself isn't a fascist. His grasp of politics is too shallow to assign an ideology.