Sometime early in its history, the Communist Party came to be associated with the color Red.
For the better part of five decades, “the Reds” were the enemies of all things American, or so we were taught.
We fought the Reds in the Cold War, sending countless service men to bases in western Europe to keep them out; set up NATO to counter their bloc of nations & client-states; engaged them in a space race to the Moon, and we lost thousands of our military in Korea & Vietnam when the Cold War turned hot in those areas. Here at home, the Red Menace made Senator Joseph McCarthy a household name, for good or ill.
During all those years, the Republican Party portrayed themselves as die-hard opponents of the Communists, right up to Reagan referring to their sphere of influence as the Evil Empire.
And yet, in 2000, when the national news media were busy turning the election into a kid’s coloring book page of the USA showing simplified graphics, instead of doing actual reporting on the crimes being committed during the election process, they chose RED to represent the Republican Party and Blue to represent the Democratic Party.
Why the anti-Communist GOP went along with this choice of colors has never been explained.
So, what did the first-ever “red” Republican President do?
Got us into 2 wars, neither of which effectively targeted our new enemies &, when challenged about anything to do with these wars, banged the drum about Supporting the Troops (as code for support the President no matter how wrong he might be).
Meanwhile, the GOP Congress & President:
- failed to properly fund the VA, leading to scandals in the VA hospitals, including the ones near DC;
- allowed the families of vets to be so poorly supported that many went on food stamps;
- did not provide the equipment the troops actually needed;
- overspent on military equipment not wanted by anyone except the companies profiting from selling them; and
- sponsored the first-ever American wars with more private contractors than actual troops;
- paid the private contractors much, much more than the troops for, in many cases, doing the same work; and
- otherwise did everything they could to withhold actual support for the troops.
Sometime during this fiasco of non-support masquerading as support, some one came up with the idea of “Wearing Red on Fridays” as a symbolic gesture of support.
This clearly-partisan color choice made no sense then, as the GOP has done the least of the two major parties to actually live up to the promises America has made to our fighting forces & the most to disrespect them in favor of private companies.
Of course, as a propaganda move, it was brilliantly-conceived to work well with the GOP theme that they were supporting the troops, while avoiding the costly & messy business of actually doing anything that would help the troops, rather than their business associates.
Yet no strong voices were heard suggested wearing “Democratic” Blue or non-partisan White, instead. So much for the so-called liberal media !
Now, several years later, the Wear Red on Fridays campaign is still going on, every bit the empty gesture it was then, and those supporting it fail to understand why it is a heinous waste of time & a betrayal of the values they claim.
Symbols do matter. If all you can do is a symbolic gesture, perhaps that is better than doing nothing. Just don’t let yourself think you are making a difference, especially when the meaning of the gesture is so muddled because the symbol (the color RED) has such a muddled history.
As just one additional example of how muddled a symbolic gesture it is to wear red on Fridays, consider the call by the American Heart Association for everyone to wear red on Friday Feb 23 to raise awareness of heart disease. So, if you wore red on that Friday, what did you mean by it?
Are you willing to take the time to email, call or write your Congressional Representatives in the US House and Senate to urge them to spend money on the VA, the families left behind by the military & the equipment troops need while in the field?
As these two ill-conceived wars have called upon our military to take on jobs that they were never designed to handle & were not trained to do (nation-building, police work, speaking languages that they do not know), it would seem that the best way to show Support for the Troops would be to demand that President Obama live up to the campaign promises of Candidate Obama and bring the troops home sooner rather than later.
While he is at it, he could also close the Unconstitutional torture base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and actually get the USA out of the business of torturing anyone, as he also promised during the campaign. Doing those two things would go a long way toward restoring America’s moral authority in the world, which does matter when we are going up against a foe that uses faith-based morality as part of their arsenal.
Additional Ways to Show Support that we can each urge our Congressional Reps and Senators to support:
- Let the service men and women go home after their tours of duty; stop forcing them to continue serving after their tours have ended.
- Provide them with enough financial assistance, retraining, medical care and psychiatric care when they return to the USA that they can resume their lives as productive members of society.
- For those that don’t make it back from the front, give their families enough life insurance benefits that they are compensated for the loss, not barely able to cover the cost of a funeral.
- Visit this site and pick a group to join and support or an activity to participate in: Association of the US Army
- Or see the list of additional sites at the bottom and help out through one of those organizations.
Group think and silly symbolism is not supporting the troops.
Saluting them when you see them, lobbying Congress to fully fund the VA and pay the troops every nickel they have coming, learning how to respect the flag properly and doing so — these show support to the troops.
A story that appeared recently on Facebook mentioned another way you can show support for the troops — you can applaud them when you see them together leaving for or coming back from a tour of duty, as well as thank them whenever you see them in uniform.
If all those Americans who wear red and think they made a difference went out to their local airport when troops are coming home and applauded them, wrote to their Congressional Reps and Senators to demand full justice for the military, and pitched in to help the families they left behind have a decent life — that would make such a difference that the troops would actually notice.
Even in this age of diversity in all things, most Americans still identify themselves as Christians. So, it should be noted that Jesus Himself said if you do the right thing only to be seen by others doing it, then your “reward” is the opinion of others. If you want it to count in the Kingdom of Heaven, your good works should be done consistently, all the time and mostly without being seen by anyone other than you and God.
Clothing is easy to change. Behavior and results are what counts.
Here are some additional links to websites that support the military service members: