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Photo courtesy euffslemani.com

True colors

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By Thursday, Aug 9, 2018 Viewpoints

In the Berkshires, this is THE season, the season where there are almost too many activities from which to choose: Tanglewood music, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Berkshire Theatre Group offerings, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Shakespeare & Company, Barrington Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Suns minor league baseball, restaurants, picnics, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, tennis, golf, softball, flea markets, farmers’ markets, antiquing, and so forth. It’s dizzying. In between all of this abundance, it’s likewise the season to garden, weed and fix the outdoor stuff. One must carve out time to repair, update and maintain the cottage keeping us dry and cozy year-round. In other words: Tis’ the season for home improvement, specifically painting.

Perhaps you are aiming for that ideal shade of ocher for the trim against that Amherst grey stain clapboard. This color is called all sorts of things. Monikers abound as if they were names for nail polish. Stewart gold, for example as opposed to semolinabuttercup, orspicy mustard ? So many dark shades of yellow, so little time. Maybe you’re re-doing your shed and seek the a sort of barn red with pop and come upon a choice with the unlikely appellation of pomegranate.To select the right color from a square the size of a cracker is ill advised. It makes sense to go to the effort and expense of obtaining a mini can of the proposed hue to actually try out on the shingles before committing to gallons. Linda at E. Caligari & Son Inc. in Great Barrington will mix up a cup of color like a bartender at a rainbow. We’re on our 12th shot. Hiccup! But I digress.

Those paint chips are misleading. You can’t actually see the true shade until it’s up on the wall, shingle or sill. Everything has to do with the light, landscape and reality of your situation. Standing there in the paint store and chatting with other would be DIYers, I realized that this idea of actually seeing the color on the wall holds true for more than just paint.

Photo courtesy Polling Place Photo Project

Heading into yet another important election cycle, the midterms, it’s vital that we as individuals investigate for ourselves what a candidate’s ‘true colors’ might be based not on promises or expressed rhetoric. These are nothing but paint chips, small and often misleading, often purposely so. In a time when saying anything not necessarily fact-based or true is at an all-time high, we must develop a rubric for what we expect and want (the shade of paint we seek) and then try it out.

Immigration concerns? What is the stance of the person who runs for office? How have they resolved these issues in the past? What’s their track record? Civil rights for the disenfranchised important to you? How about gender, race, religious discriminationor tax concerns? What about the soaring costs of medical intervention and higher education? Public education direction? The future of Medicare? Tariffs? Does the candidate have a sketchy corruption history? Are you worried about the future of Roe v. Wade ? We must try out, exhaust ourselves in trying out candidates and repairing the peeling paint from the shelters we huddle within. Be forewarned! Sometimes a few coats are needed. On Nov. 6, 2018, we have a chance to scrape and resurface what has been a shoddy paint job thus far. It’s a lot of work, admittedly. But it’s far better than the alternative. Mildew, wood rot or just the wrong shade of ocher trim on window trim for decades to come sounds good compared to what we face with the wrong leadership going in the wrong direction at full speed. Let’s get painting!

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