Laurie and I have been coloring. Not coloring the truth, but actually coloring in coloring books as we did when we were children. And we aren't alone. Coloring for adults is officially a thing, a trend that has spread nationwide, complete with numerous health benefits. Experts say coloring can improve motor skills, enhance sleep and lessen anxiety. I'm no more artistic at coloring than I was in kindergarten, but I'll certainly attest to its stress-reducing properties.
As I color, and struggle sometimes to stay inside the lines, I think about two cherished American traditions: protesting and voting. Protesting is coloring outside the lines. It's an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo, occasionally leading to disregard for societal boundaries. Voting is coloring inside the lines, working within the system.
Much justified outcry followed the August police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., including the players of the National Basketball Association sitting out several days' worth of playoff games in protest. In the same moment, however, it was widely reported that only about 20% of eligible NBA players were registered to vote. I vividly remember January 21, 2017, the day of the worldwide Women's March. Due to the hundreds of thousands who wanted to attend the Los Angeles event as much as we did, Laurie and I couldn't get any closer to downtown L.A. than the North Hollywood Metro Station. While seeing such an eruption of civic engagement was still heartening, I looked at the crush of people around me trying to make it down to the subway platform and couldn't help wondering how many of them hadn't gotten around to voting in the election two months before.
I'll admit that when coloring, I derive more stress reduction from loosening up and disregarding a few boundaries. But the time always comes to buckle down and work within the system.
Both protesting and voting have their time. It's now time to color inside the lines.