I strolled into my usual delicatessen to pick up some lunch shortly after 1 p.m. today, when the first thing that caught my eye was a giant pink sticker across the glass case which holds all of the day’s pre-made sandwiches.
It’s pretty hard not to notice the color pink. It’s bright, vibrant, and not typically used for anything else unless you’re a sick child and your doctor prescribed you bubble-gum flavored Amoxicillin. It’s a common color, but think about it — how many things are actually pink?
The sticker said something along the lines of “We Support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” and was accompanied by the familiar pink ribbon that symbolizes the cause. It was at that precise moment when I had a realization, or a moment of catharsis, if you will. The only time in my life when I’ve ever seen our country unite like it does for breast cancer awareness in October was post-9/11, when a feeling of patriotism engulfed our nation, and no house, car, or window could be seen without an American flag.
And it lasted a good few months. It was nice. With all of the unpleasantness that exists in the world, it’s comforting to know that we are capable of uniting during times of crisis. It also gives me confidence that if aliens ever did attack us, that we would be able to put differences aside and join together to preserve our great nation.
Unity is a really good thing that is seldom seen. It’s not that people prefer discord and divisiveness, it’s just that there are a lot of people in the world, and it’s hard to get them all to agree. Heck, there are only 535 people in Congress, and the mere idea of them agreeing on anything is laughable.
Now imagine 317 million people trying to agree on something. Because that’s approximately how many people there are in the USA. What things are actually universally agreed upon in this country? Ice cream tastes good. The majority of baby animals are cute. Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” is the embodiment of true human emotion. That’s it. Those three things.
But then October hits, and bam. The White House becomes the Pink House. The National Football League, a sport dominated by violence, drapes its playing fields with pink sidelines and hash marks. It’s hard to look anywhere this month without seeing a tint of fuchsia in some capacity.
And again — just like with the post-9/11 nationalism — it’s nice. Anytime we, as people, are united behind anything, it’s good; let alone when it’s behind a cause that deserves awareness and funding. Breast cancer was the cause of death for more than 450,000 people in 2008, accounting for 13.7 percent of cancer deaths in women. In other words, it affects a lot of people and devastates a lot of families. Any one who has any problem with the nationwide effort to raise awareness is clearly ignorant to the cause.
The only question that I have, though, is why can’t we do this more often? Why can’t we join together for 12 months, and not one?
If the prevalence of pink in October tells us anything, it’s that when we are one, we are strong. And if we were together all of the time, then the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish. The age-old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, if we put our minds together, I think we can build something that exceeds Rome in an hour. Yeah, I said it.
On Nov. 1, don’t stop being an advocate. You don’t have to wear pink anymore, but let’s pretend like we’re all still supporting the same cause. One of life, love, happiness and all of the other things that chicks put in their Facebook profiles.
Because if we unite, then — and only then — our hearts, collectively, will go on.