[be the reds]

Topic: Politics
During South Korea’s World Cup hysteria back in the summer of 2001, we were startled to see the whole country donning T-shirts that said “Be the Reds” in support of their national football team, the Red Devils. As I put it then, “I think the South Koreans completely missed the irony of collectively dressing in red, going to mass demonstrations and shouting nationalist slogans in unison.”

So when I read today in Ambiguous.org that the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women is sponsoring a program called Freedom Fridays: Wear Red as an antiwar protest, it set off certain alarm bells. According to the website, red was used as a code by Norwegians in World War II who were protesting the Nazi occupation. But in American political consciousness, the color red represents something else entirely. And the idea of secret Reds has a nasty history indeed, including both the baseless Red-baiting of the McCarthy era and the post-Soviet revelations that Communist spies were indeed deeply embedded in the American government in the 1940s. I can just imagine the headlines in the Conservative press when they get a hold of this: “Secret Reds Subvert War on Terror!” “New England Feminists Encourage Antiwar Communism!”

Remember, my left-leaning friends, that we’re working for an election here — one in which we’ll have to inspire middle-of-the-road undecideds to lean our way — not a revolution. Secret cabals of Reds will not help the cause.