Starburst, Symbol of the Alt-Right

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but America is in the middle of a messy divorce. Sure, the thought pieces and studies describing our separate news sourcesbook selectionsTV series, and how we’re all talking past each other make good observations, but one thing truly epitomizes what is tearing us apart: Starburst.

FaveREDs, which are bags of Starburst with only red and pink colors included, were introduced in 2016. In 2017, the product went a step further and released all-pink bags.

This was inevitable, probably. The proliferation of “Have it your way” culture has given seemingly everyone the expectation that they should get everything they want, exactly the way they want it, right now, and for free.

Back in my day (I’m 34, so basically a senior citizen), Starburst came in four flavors, like it or not. Pink and red were the favorites among most, but orange and yellow, for people that didn’t like them, allowed us to grow as human beings in one of two ways:

  1. You could give the orange and yellow Starburst to a friend (or a stranger, starting a conversation and making a new friend). This ensured we were all at least capable of generating small talk and acknowledging others’ existence. It reminded us that people had different opinions than us and that we could not only live with those differences, but that those differences could help us get the job done.
  2. You could learn to like orange and yellow Starburst. They provide a tangy pop in a line of overly sweet, soft candy. It’s a nice curveball to keep your tongue from getting too comfortable at the plate (or tube, as it were). This option had the advantage that you could also work with others who refused to grow their character to acquire THEIR candy, providing an incentive to broaden your tastes and learn to appreciate new things.

Instead of strengthening ourselves as a nation, now we’re focused on getting only what we want – never trying to grow beyond what we already like; never trying to understand why other things exist; never appreciating others for what they bring to the table.

If I post #OrangeStarburstMatter on social media now, I’m bound to be shouted down by the #AllStarburstMatter crowds who are constantly spewing nonsense about how the entire Starburst empire was based on pink and red Starburst, and orange and yellow should be happy they were allowed to exist in the same bag for so long. They would praise Starburst for eliminating those pesky orange and yellow Starburst for them. Are those the kind of selfish people we want running the show?

Let’s get back to uniting, not dividing. Don’t be tempted by the ease of having your preferred flavor pre-separated for you. As Denzel Washington said: “Ease is the greatest threat to progress, not hardship.” Don’t allow them to tell America that only one flavor really matters.

Stop Starburst now. For America.

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