Earlier this month, I went to DFW Fiber Fest. (Like a gun show, but with yarn.) One of the classes I took was on Dyeing Yarn and Roving, taught by my spinning instructor. We worked in the little convention center's kitchen- it's a water-heavy process. She instructed us to choose three colors from her collection of dyes and illustrated various ways that we could apply them to our fibers.
Those of us who were dyeing roving (unspun wool) had to consider how our combinations would look when spun into single strands and then plied together into yarn. Leef told us about a process that would, if we liked, prevent the 'barber pole' effect of two distinct colors twined together. You divide your fibers into two equal batches, as usual. You spin one as is, preserving your distinct colors. The second you comb, with carders, into one muted color called a 'neutral ground'. When you ply these together, they balance each other- the original colors retain their individuality, which is actually strengthened by being offset by a shade that combines them all.
I think, here in America, we have lost our 'neutral ground'. The commonality of our culture has been splintered into so many warring social, ethnic, racial, religious and even economic factions that there's not a lot holding us together. Now, this is not to say that there's ever been a time when things were perfect- we are a nation of fallen human beings- but we had a vision that actually worked. But the bases of our 'neutral ground'- the ideas of the Founding Fathers, a shared and common Judeo-Christian morality and a unique American consensus of who we were existed to ground our individualities and allow them to flourish.