The Super Bowl and the State of the Union Speech had something in common – the opposing teams wore different uniforms.
It was no accident.
If the Patriots and the Rams had both worn beige uniforms with no numbers, the average fan couldn’t have told them apart.
The State of the Union was different. In order to make themselves stand out, many women in the Democratic party wore white from head to toe. They weren’t making a fashion statement. They making a political point.
The women said they wore white to honor the suffragettes who fought for decades until American women were finally granted the right to vote.
Those old-school suffragettes wore white outfits trimmed with with purple for dignity and green for hope. At the time, white was considered the symbol of purity. Times change. These days, purity is about as hip as 8-track tapes.
But I digress.
According to Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, "Wearing suffragette white is a respectful message of solidarity with women across the country, and a declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned rights."
Good. I wouldn’t, either.
All the outfits looked fine to me and well-suited for the allegedly dignified occasion. My favorites were worn by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (aka AOC), who swaddled her white suit in a white cape, and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who showed her Muslim pride by sporting a white vest and white pants with a red shirt and blue hijab.
Associating colors with causes is not new. For decades, red ribbons have shown support for AIDS patients and research. Pink is now the official color of breast cancer awareness. The LGBT community has hijacked the rainbow, despite lawsuits from the Lucky Charms leprechaun.
But should colors count in politics?
Every time they’re within shouting distance of a microphone, members of the U.S. Congress trample each other to be first to say all Americans must work together to solve our problems.
It sounds good, but how can our elected officials find common ground if their outfits advertise their differences before the debate begins?
As far back as the Roman Empire, showing your colors has been one of the best – and easiest – ways to advertise yourself and set yourself apart from competitors.
Nothing’s changed. NFL teams trumpet their differences to sell tickets and merchandise. The only way to tell one NASCAR vehicle from another is the paint job.
Flying your tribe’s colors is practical, too. Armies sport different outfits to make it easier to spot the enemy.
If we want members of Congress to be unified in mind, body and spirit, it might be time to require government officials to wear the same thing to work every day.
Picking a color won't be easy. White is neutral and appealing. Black is always dignified. Wearing red might lead to belligerence, so that’s out. Some think yellow is sunny and bright, but others see it as the color of cowardice.
Just thinking about it gives me the blues.
We need a color scheme that screams inclusion and harmony. How about a new Congressional Plaid that includes every known color in the universe?
If that won’t fly, let’s just require members of Congress to show up for work wearing the jersey of their favorite college sports team or the logo of their biggest campaign contributor?
At least we’d know where their true loyalties lie.
Bernie Sanders will look great in a Moscow Tech hockey jersey.
Alex McRae is the author of “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org