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The 2022 Elections’ Primary Colors | Amb. Laura Q. Del Rosario, MA, MEd

The 2022 Elections’ Primary Colors  |  Amb. Laura Q. Del Rosario, MA, MEd

Every grade schooler learns in his art or science class that there are three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Mixing the primary colors will give rise to secondary colors: orange, green, and violet. Mixing the secondary with the primary colors will produce the tertiary group of colors like yellow-green (avocado), blue-green (aquamarine), etc.

The movie, Primary Colors, was a roman a clef (fiction based on real people) produced in 1998. The story was based on Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and his first US presidential campaign in 1992.  Starring John Travolta (as the ambitious gubernatorial candidate), Emma Thompson as (the governor’s wife), and Kathy Bates (as the campaign manager), the movie showed the sophistication and brutal-ness of US political campaigns. Trivia: Kathy Bates is famous among the millennials for her role in Titanic as the kind, newly rich woman who helped Leo di Caprio’s character, Jack Dawson, be properly attired for the exclusive dinner with the social circle of Kate Winslet’s character. Bates won the nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Primary Colors.

In US politics, primaries are held every four years during which a party’s presidential standard bearer is chosen. And there are two primary colors at play: the Red for the Republican (conservative) Party and Blue for the Democratic (liberal) Party. If you stand for equal rights for women, for minorities, for labor, for reproductive rights, social programs for the poor like Medicaid, then you vote Democrat.  If you prefer to support big business for economic growth, reduce corporate taxes and dependence on government, a strong defense force, and religious conservatism, then you vote Republican. This was the general rule then. It has become more complicated now because of Trumpism.

Using colors in presidential elections in the Philippines has become part of the presidential campaign strategy when Cory Aquino used the yellow color, referring to a song about a husband who requested his wife that if he was welcome back home from prison, she should “tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the old oak tree” The returning prisoner alluded to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr who was imprisoned with Senator Jose Wright Diokno (the Father of Human Rights and the father of Jose “Chel” Icasiano Diokno, human rights advocate) at Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija. Yellow took on to mean supporting “human rights and democracy” in Cory’s campaign, and “the rule of law, the straight path or Daang Matuwid” during her son, Noynoy’s campaign and administration.

Cory’s running mate, Senator Salvador Laurel used green as his color. This color was also adopted later by labor and human rights advocate former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III, grandson of Senator Lorenzo Tanada, founder of the Free Legal Assistance Group and Nuclear Free-Philippines, because Erin considered green as the symbol of agriculture, (Quezon Province that he represented is an agriculture province). Now voting green means supporting Sara Duterte.  And VP Leni Robredo’s color is pink.  

Colors for the election campaign are just used to show affinity to one’s political group or political “tribe”. But colors must mean something more than a “political” identification.

There is a theory compared to Maslow’s theory on self-actualization which uses colors to define each level of human motivation that dictates a person’s actions and worldview: Dr. Clare Graves’ emergent cyclical theory of human development ( aka Graves’ Values System) describes the stages of development of a human being.. The theory presents an open-ended model that has influenced many fields, from education to economics, from geopolitical conflict to management.  It is easier to remember the different stages using colors as used by Graves and his sociopsychology colleagues. It can be useful in studying individuals and organizations:

Beige: basic survival level; main value is staying alive; Example: individuals during pre-civilization era, homeless street children

Purple: tribal thinking, values tribal and family loyalty and bonds; Examples: indigenous tribes, young children, street gangs in the ‘hood, closed circle of cliques, less developed countries

Red: power and glory, glitz and glamor dominance-seeking, guiltless, seeks only own interests and protection; Examples: feudal kingdoms, colonizers, many teen-agers’ groups; many celebrities and movie stars, many politicians, most royal and political dynasties, some countries.

Blue: obeys one “right” way, thinks along duty, faith, order; obedience to higher authority, sometimes unquestioning. Occurs in religious fundamentalism (in an extreme way), religion-based or law and order-based society; Examples: most religious groups, some developed “dark blue” countries (won’t be named), most institutions and organizations

Orange: rational, achiever; motivated by self-reliance; self-reflective and long-term planner; sets goals; has self-esteem and autonomy; mature sense of responsibility; seeks improvement and growth; science and technology-based. Examples: highly developed countries; scientific revolution and movement, Nobel Prize winners in the sciences

Green (5% of the world and growing): seeks authenticity, connections, aims for harmonious and sustainable world; greater awareness of the past, present, future; values peace and harmony, humanitarian, recognizes pluralism and diversity; values equality , equity, and tolerance; spiritual but not religious, concerns transcend group and national boundaries, Examples: environmentalists, ecologists, human rights advocates; many Scandinavian countries

Yellow (Quite Rare): seeks integrated life, creates systems that contribute to collective evolution; thinks in evolutionary, integrative, and systemic ways, systemic change (not mere change) agents Examples: organizations functioning under integrated systems promoting ecological and humanistic aims, international foundations on development and democracy

Turquoise (Very Rare): awakening mind; accepts life paradoxes, aware of constructs of the mind, language, and meaning; integrated and evolutionary in thinking; values universal order and global renewal Example: Mandela’s pluralistic integration; Gandhi’s pluralistic harmony; integral-holistic systems thinking

Emergent Level (Coral): “grounded in the timeless infinity of Eternal Now while existing in historical time”

All these levels can be applied (theoretically) to all individuals, groups, organizations, societies, nations. One can figure out his/her or another person’s predominant “color  or values level” and the way s/he perceives the world, and acts upon his/her values . So do register and vote according to the color level you want our country to be in. Please vote candidates whose motivations are towards authentic change and whose values and views transcend the self and their tribes’ interests.


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