The day after the election and I’m feeling blue. As a kid we learned one did not discuss money or politics, period. So let me say something about cars.

When I met my husband Jay, he drove a BMW. More than one friend asked, “Didn’t you say you’d never go out with someone who drives a BMW?” Well, I might have, but I like to think I’m smart enough to drop my own dumb rules when it matters. I got on board with the love of my life, and tried to leave my brand prejudices on the side of the road, though I always felt a little uncomfortable to be riding in a Beemer. It’s not how I saw myself.

Jay didn’t enjoy having a BMW in Berkeley, either. He got dirty looks. When he bought a Mini Cooper he experienced a much more welcoming vibe, though of course this is absurd because Minis are made by BMW. But the difference was unmistakable.

Growing up, my parents had aggressively non-showy taste in consumer products. Flashy, expensive brands didn’t sit right with them. We were thankful for being middle class, but were absolutely forbidden from feeling superior to those who made less, or saying anything about it. We drove our Dodge until it wouldn’t go anymore.  When our Aspen turned out to be a lemon, we became Toyota people, and drove two Tercels with hand-crank windows for many hundred thousand miles. From Austin to Disneyland, New York City, Seattle, Maine. The Tercel, for you young ones, was the little Toyota. My mom and her 3 guys, all over 6 foot, would fold ourselves into those cars and go, go, go. I drove one to California when I moved here, and was very reluctant to give it up.

By these standards my Subaru wagon, with its family friendly motto “Love Makes a Subaru,” would rate as too fancy. To get the backup camera, it came with burlwood trim. This Jay liked, and I decided I could live with, though a bit uneasily.

Since we’re reminiscing about childhood, my family also had deep respect for our country and leaders. I’m not sure both of my parents voted for Jimmy Carter (I really don’t know), but when he told us to turn down the thermostat, we did it. We put in ceiling fans for the hot Texas summers. We did our part.

This brings me, reluctantly, to today. To the unmentionables.

The inequality in our society is becoming unbearable, the conspicuous displays of wealth feeling more grotesque the less fair the system is.

The rancorous, bitter Blue State/Red State divide fills me with despair. It just doesn’t feel right. As a Democrat, of course it’s easier for me to see ways the loudest and most obnoxious Republicans refuse compromise and contribute to gridlock. That feels as self-evident as the superiority of my car, though I’m sure others can and will point out ways the Democrats aren’t helping.

How are we going to run a country if we can’t agree to be civil about the most basic things?

The deep human need for labels and a sense of where we belong isn’t going to just dry up. But it’s my very sincerely held hope, prayer, and wish that we find a way to let some of this craziness go. I can’t stomach it.

Despite the trend towards living with and talking to only those who agree with us, I’m going to try to see more purple. I don’t know if it’s possible, and I’m not giving up my Berkeley. The tax on soda won, and California stayed Blue. I couldn’t be happier about it. But I might have to have some conversations that make me less comfortable. If it’ll save us, I’m even willing to get in your car for a spin.