Normally, when you think of “red” in a political context, you think of America’s adversaries, like the “Commie Reds” of the Soviet Union and China, or our country’s first foes, the British Red Coats. Children growing up during the Cold War were terrified by stories of these monstrous Reds—soulless communists, who wanted to annihilate us with their nuclear weapons, murder us in our beds and force happy, freedom-loving Americans into their bleak Soviet socialist ideology.
So when you think of the word “red,” does it not occur to you that these same connotations carry right over to what we call “red STATES?” Or has a relentless propaganda machine convinced us that “red” no longer means “red?” Because to anyone paying attention, the Republican party of the 21st century has not behaved that much differently than the way the Soviet government behaved towards its people. Republicans blur truth and utilize propaganda in order to terrify people into believing that if you don’t choose Republican policies and candidates over Democratic ones, the U.S. will be doomed and Armageddon will be hastened. With Fox News as their cacophonous resurrection of Pravda, Republicans have managed to incite an irrational fear amongst Americans that the Democratic Party cannot keep us safe from terrorists, that Democrats will only take more of your hard-earned money in taxes, that Democratic programs will fail and wreak economic havoc. This Soviet-like fear mongering has been so successful, that Republicans have managed to squander the People’s hard-earned tax surpluses on unnecessary wars that only enrich corporations. They have managed to make us a dumber, sicker and poorer country by ignoring government’s obligation to provide quality education, health care, basic infrastructure and financial security. For decades, Republicans have schemed to pull out the social safety net, plunder the People’s pensions, accelerate the way technology is used to monitor us and probe into our most private spheres. Like corrupted KGB officers, Republicans have infiltrated our local, state and federal government, even reaching their tentacles into the last means of protection our democracy has—the Supreme Court. And for what? So they can enrich their own lives and the lives of the one percent at your expense.
When you think of “red” in a political context, you think of adversaries to democracy—enemies of America. Look closer at Republican rhetoric and the outcome of Republican policies and you will see that it is they who present continuous challenges to our freedom. They are the enemies of equality and the foes of our pursuit of happiness. Like the “Reds” of ages past, Republicans and their even less-intelligent minions—Tea Party members, are the modern-day anti-democratic threat—the new “Reds” who want to coerce everyone into their set of self-serving ideologies, whether it be their religious beliefs, their economic trickle down theories, their disdain for regulatory protections or their inhumane, soulless way of governing. Like the Commie Reds we were brought up to fear, Republicans have no reservations about curtailing our rights. They are proud of their fight to force everyone to adopt their brand of confused, non-doctrinal Christianity. Yet, unlike Christ, they don’t care if you die from poor health care or are killed serving your country. They care nothing of our right to privacy, women’s rights, our right to vote or our right to self-determination. As the remainder of our protections continue to disintegrate, we see from their policies that our quality of life continues to drop each decade, yet the very richest are prospering like never before.
Follow the Doom Forecast, for a list of laughable, fictional screeds of hysteria that have been trotted out by the Republican propaganda machine in order to scare you straight to the ballot box, where they hope you’ll vote “red.”
Click here for Dakota O’Leary’s series The Red State Blues for specific examples of how “red” still means “red” when talking about the Republican defeat of American democracy.