“A or B?”

In a world of complexity, we are too frequently pressured to decide between two defined choices, especially when politics is involved. But then again, organized religion imposes its own limited parameters, as do science and finance and entertainment.

Are you right or left? Democrat or Republican? A good patriot or an infidel? Heading to heaven or hell? Evolutionist or Creationist? Scientist or faithful?

A or B, with never any option of C or D, or even an awareness that there are 26 letters in the alphabet, and they can be combined in a myriad of ways.

The bully on the playground, the monarch on the throne, demands:

“Do you want to be beheaded or drowned?”

“Well, neither actually. I find both options untenable.”

“But that’s not an option! You have to choose one!”

This game only works when others opt to play. Of course, in the case of the despotic monarch, he does have the power to literally execute. But in a “free” society, we are never required to play the game the bully demands. If we don’t like either option A or B, we can say:

“The game itself is at fault, because the rules are set up by people who benefit in ways I cannot share in. I opt to not waste my time playing a game I will never win, and instead invest my time and energy, my skills and heart, into areas where what I do makes a difference.”

The artwork, “Many Hues,” encourages us to not allow others to dictate our choices. Located in the Grand Canyon, this landscape is Red Rock Country, but this does not mean we are forced to choose between red and orange.

The colors of the canyon shift and change with the light — they are nuanced, subtle, deep and rich with variety, much like life itself. Forcing people to choose between two colors when there are obviously many is absurd, circumscribing, shallow, narrow, and oppressive, and any person with the ability to use their eyes sees clearly that the choices are not limited to two.

Carolyn Henderson is a freelance writer who believes in the beauty and value of everyday people — because there are so many of us. She welcomes correspondence at carolyn@stevehendersonfineart.com.