Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Reds

History sure has its ironies, and here is one nobody seems to have picked up on.  Anyone old enough to remember the Cold War and most especially the horrendous 1950's has a vivid association with the designation "Red".  To paraphrase that sage Kermit the Frog, "it wasn't easy being Red" in those days when Joe McCarthy and his ultra conservative friends labeled them, or anyone the least bit sympathetic, as "Commies".  Everyone knew that a movie called "Reds" was going to be about Communists and it was commonplace to speak disparagingly of Red China.  So it is especially ironic that today Red States should refer to the Republican (and conservative at that) dominated sections of the country.  How did their language guru Frank Luntz let that happen?  The people he has so influenced on the right pride themselves on discipline especially in co-opting powerful descriptors, "Pro-Life" for anti-abortion activists or the "Death Tax" to discredit the inheritance taxes they want to repeal to name only a few.  One really has to laugh a little that they find themselves in linguistic bed with the much maligned enemy over which they obsessed for most of the last century.  What's worse, they aren't merely "Pinko" sympathizers (read liberals), they are Reds.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving the holiday that is truly ours as opposed to yours and mine.  It's a time when we're not Jews, Christians, Moslems or non-believers, but Americans; perhaps we're not Democrats or Republicans either.  I love Thanksgiving and in large measure because, unlike the synthetically neutralized "holiday season" ahead, it is truly shared by all.  The changed meaning of Red reminds me that history has its ebb and flow, its ups and downs.  It gives me some hope that this distressing time isn't necessarily destined to be forever.  That thought alone makes me thankful.

And I guess one should also be thankful for today's Reds and the many things wrought under their dominion.  We're at war, and not a single one of us has yet had to pay a dime for it.  Indeed, they've cut our taxes so that we can indulge ourselves by buying more, not sacrifice by doing with less.  Not to worry, the kids for whom we have, after all, done so much will pay the bills; even better so will their still unborn offspring.  Countless thousands have died or been wounded, physically or psychologically, and notwithstanding that among them are many of our own sons and daughters, the President tells us that it's better happening over there than over here.  That should make us thankful, shouldn't it?  There is melting at both polar caps and an ever growing thirst for finite energy in a fast developing world (most significantly in the old Red China), but the garage under my New York City building is filled with SUVs.  I am so thankful on this holiday that my urban neighbors and their relatives in suburbia can still have those guzzling Hummers, Escalades and Navigators to transverse the rugged pavement of Amsterdam Avenue, Central Park West and the Garden State or Merritt Parkways. 

Life is good, undeniably good, so why am I so depressed this Thanksgiving?  I must really be a poop.  The latest polls show that a majority of Americans think the years ahead will be better than those immediately past.  I guess that's not surprising since a majority of them voted Red.  Maybe I should get with the program, not feel so Blue.  Now what happened to those rose colored glasses?  They must be around here somewhere.

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