Blue Monday all week long?

Published 8:29 am Sunday, September 20, 2015

by Dr. Don Newbury

When they handed out colors to represent lines of work, kinds of moods, degrees of dangers, and emphases on weather maps, it now seems certain “blue” has been overworked.

Perhaps we need to either back off, giving other colors their places in the sun–or even 15 seconds of fame. Otherwise, perhaps we should introduce several shades of blue.

Maybe it’s something of a “cop-out,” but trotting out 50 shades of blue seems to cheapen a color that should be one greatly honored. Instead, far too often, it is trampled.

As to “cop-outs,” consider our culture–in a serious slide southward in ways considered outlandishly unlikely but a few winks ago. Let’s hone in specifically on law enforcement personnel—men and women in blue. Formerly, they were generally treated with both deep respect and appreciation.

Today, sadly, there’s much deliberation about the feasibility of their continuing to dress in uniforms for their daily shifts. They are thus clearly identified as to who they are. Also under question is whether it is safe for them to drive clearly identified vehicles. It is as though they are enemies, clutching as firmly as they can the values we formerly held to be sacred.

Our national mood calls for “singing the blues”–if we are to sing at all–when duty shifts begin. Men and women in blue have to wonder whether they’re leaving their homes to promote peace or wage war in a land where domestic tranquility once seemed achievable. While we’re at it, let’s include other emergency responders—including, of course, fire department personnel. Really, now, would anyone be surprised if they, too, need to wear flak jackets? Or hold hoses in one hand and weapons in the other? Should we be shocked to soon see ads for tail gunners on fire trucks?

   Few of us in daily routines expect to participate in law enforcement procedures. I was in such a scene recently, albeit unwittingly. Having concluded popping corn for delivery to friends, I noticed the gas gauge skittering toward “E.”

Outfitted in pull-over shirt, old jean cut-offs and sandals, I wished for a baseball cap to hide run-away gray hair mats devoid of shampoo for 24 hours or so. Some 40-50 yards away, a smiling lady waved vigorously.

Thinking she recognized me and probably wanted a popcorn fix–for herself and for two accompanying children–I felt it seemly to reward them. I wandered slowly over to hand them a bag, as if I knew them. Turns out, I didn’t.

As the bag left my hand, I heard a voice of the law, neither amplified nor ill-spoken. “Please move away from the car.”

Behind the woman’s vehicle, perhaps 40 feet away, was a police car. Inside, the officer was completing details of what I suppose was a speeding violation.

Horrors! I was thrust into possible interference with the law. So, I offered the officer a bag of popcorn, too. But, he couldn’t accept it. I felt stupid, retreated quickly to my car and drove away.

Proceeding with deliveries, I couldn’t turn off memories of how I’d almost “interfered” with what I’m sure was a routine traffic stop near noontide of the day. I hope the woman and her children enjoyed the popcorn, and I’m sorry—at this time in history, anyway–it isn’t prudent for law enforcement personnel to accept foodstuff from a guy who looked like he should be raking leaves.

I mentally “applauded” to the many demonstrations across our land supporting men and women in blue. Let us applaud their many shades of blue, including postal workers, and yes, even umpires. It is the American way, even if the latter group sometimes must wait for instant replay for exoneration. For many caught up in the jagged edges of life’s realities, there’s no instant replay, no mulligans and quite often, not even casual thanks.

It is worth repeating: The American way is under siege. If we are to be privileged to keep it one nation under God, we must reclaim old resolve to defend what is right and true–for each other, and for the men and women in blue. May God bless them every day.


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872 Web site: Columns archived at, newbury blog