Helen Eshom

Helen Eshom 

I googled. My curiosity journeyed me because of a ‘Need to Know’ dilemma. To avoid brain deadlock of my little gray cells, I tolerated the vastness of the internet to nourish and satisfy my enquiring mind.

Red is a color most becoming. I favor it myself. That really advantages me as a Republican. But why, I ask, are Republicans red and not blue? What is the meaning behind the colors? Trekking online gave me that answer, and more! So here we go.

[Remember the year 2000.] For the first 40-plus US presidential races, there was no television and people relied on – newspapers. Primitive, black-and-white TV was invented by 1927, but didn’t gain popularity until the early-1950’s when, by then, half of all US homes had a black-and-white TV. In 1952, TV news first covered the presidential nominating conventions of the two major parties, events right at the heart of American politics. Then color TV was introduced in early-1950’s and became widely used by the 1970’s.

On TV in 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984 the Democrats were somewhat predominately red and the Republicans mainly blue. What, read that again! In 1976, NBC debuted its first election map with red bulbs for Carter-won states (Democratic) and blue for Ford (Republican), based on Great Britain's political system which used red to denote the liberal party. Again in 1976 ABC's election night coverage, Harry Reasoner welcomed viewers to "this first election of our third century”, and later the map used to show the winner of each state debuted: Republicans were yellow.

[Keep remembering 2000.] Until the late 1980’s, the TV networks rotated colors used to depict the different parties: one year Republicans were red, the next year blue, mostly. Neither party wanted to claim red as its color because of its association with the Cold War and communism. But time moved on.

Well, there was during the last election of the third century of America’s existence: the iconic and extremely lengthy election of 2000 [we’re here!] between Bush and Gore. The New York Times published its first full-color election map using red for Republicans because "red begins with r, Republican begins with r," said senior graphics editor Archie Tse, "it was a more natural association." The election, which didn't end until mid-December, firmly established Democrats as the blue party and Republicans as the red party. Since the 2000 US presidential election, red states and blue states have been referred to as states whose voters predominantly choose the Republican Party (red, conservative) or Democratic Party (blue, liberal) presidential and gubernatorial candidates. An interesting note: red and blue offer great contrast and therefore are good for color television – and it was TV that chose those final colors.

Note: the following “red” and “blue” is about political attitudes, not political parties.

Red Pill, Blue Pill - terms derived from the 1999 film The Matrix based on the 1865 novel Alice in Wonderland. Alice had to choose between colored potions to either enable her adventure to continue or go back home. In The Matrix, main character Neo is offered the choice between a Red Pill or a Blue Pill. The Red Pill represented freedom from the enslaving control of his machine-generated dream world and escape into the real world, albeit an uncertain future. On the other hand, the Blue Pill represented a beautiful prison, leading Neo back to ignorance, living in confined comfort and luxurious security without want or fear within the simulated reality of the Matrix.

In today’s political attitude world, to be Red-Pilled means to discern differing world views, recognize falsehood, reject main stream beliefs, be inquisitive, want more than just basic answers, live a life with quantifiable purpose because of unshakable ideas and beliefs which leads one to think independently from the majority.

On the other hand, to be Blue-Pilled allows one to remain in a fabricated reality, accept the world as presented to you, never challenge the norm, accept the ‘collective’ thought, never push the boundaries of one’s own comfort zone, never ask “why” or question the “what”, believe in a philosophy that life will “work out the way it’s meant to be.”

In The Matrix, once one chooses the Red Pill or Blue Pill, the choice is irrevocable. However, in real life, it is not! It has been said that there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. May I add another: change! One can change one’s mindset from red to blue, blue to red. Many formerly registered Democrats here in Barren County, Kentucky, America have done just that, they took the Red Pill!

Now, I am wondering about the Republican Elephant and the Democrat Donkey...I know what I’ll do - I’ll google it!

— The Daily Times asked Barren County’s Republican and Democratic parties to submit columns for regular publication. Both parties will be given equal opportunities and space to express their messages in a respectful manner.

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