Red white and blue–three colors that symbolize patriotism, nationalism, and pride. They are reflected in the flags that adorn front porches of many homes as well as the Pledge of Allegiance recited by rote.

These colors have also come to represent a divide.  Red, symbolic of the Republican Party, and blue the Democratic Party while white acts as the divide between the two. With each of these parties recently hosting four-day national conventions, it can be easy to forget that there are other political parties: Independent, Conservative, Green, and lesser known factions that do not get formally recognized or given voice in an election.

The two main contenders for the White House are endorsed by celebrities, former Presidents, and key political figures while the other parties create small ripples of attention that quickly and quietly fade. Is the lack of notoriety and attention on these lesser supported parties a further metaphor of the myriads of underdogs who also feel they aren’t represented? Of minorities in society who don’t feel their voices are heard?  It is an interesting analogy and one that can certainly merit discussion and debate.

It’s time to go beyond red, white, and blue; beyond black and white; beyond distinctions in color and rather look at the many shades that make up this great nation. It’s not about the loudest or flashiest or most publicized. Rather, it’s about analyzing our principles, our values, our goals, and aligning ourselves with a representative who will listen to our voice, whatever political party we may be favor or ethnic, cultural, or sect we celebrate. It’s about allowing everyone to be heard, in spite of, or because of, their political party, ethnicity, religion, or skin color.

Wear your red, white, and blue proudly but also look beyond the colors and seek never to forget what America’s founding fathers strived to achieve in declaring one nation with liberty and justice for all.