My homeland is draped in red. The United States, the land that provides freedom of, and from, religion, fights against tyranny and oppression, and is the model of innovation, is suddenly drowning in a pool of red.
Red is the symbolic color of the Republican Party. The Republican Party, once known as the party of tax cuts and limited government, is now the party of fear. In this uncertain, post-9/11 world, fear is good. Fear sells. Every politician knows insecurity abroad means security at home. In the midst of wire tapping, politicians flirting online with boys, and the White House revealing the identity of a spy on our side, bullets and bombs offer a remedy for any potential social unrest.
Red is the rage that permeates our miscalculated, imperial foreign policy. A veil fell over the American public’s eyes the day two planes hit the World Trade Center. We waved our flags, proudly sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and supported every decision our political leaders made. With a propaganda campaign Madison Avenue would envy, the war-hungry administration sold us on the war in Iraq. We were a rabid junkyard dog, foaming at the mouth, and ready to bite anything with the name “Mohammed.”
Republicans now argue to “stay the course” in Iraq, and that Democrats only want to “cut and run.” Rather than focus their energy on trying to show the American people that the opposing party is cowardly, the Republican administration should focus on bringing our soldiers home. Yes, the Democratic Party is doing more talking than offering policy solutions.
The Democrats have one thing clear, though: the war is not working. As the number of military and civilian casualties rise, Iraq is looking less like a military victory, and more like a Vietnam tragedy. The issue is not to “cut and run,” but to understand that we have overstayed our welcome at a party to which we were not invited. If only we had learned in Vietnam to bring our troops home sooner. If only we had the ability to learn from our past.
Red is our soldiers’ blood hanging over our conscience. With the midterm elections just weeks away, we shouldn’t allow the Republican Party’s aggressive rhetoric to push us around. I agree, not having a solution for the “War on Terror,” and the guerrilla fighting prevalent in the theater, is a tough pill to swallow. It would be a lie, however, to suggest our current policies are working. In a region where Sunnis and Shiites have fought each other for centuries over religious truth, we, as westerners, must not play a role in that quarrel. We have to understand that if Iraq is to become democratic, it will be on their terms. The young men and women in the armed forces protect us every day. With our vote on Nov. 7, we can do something to protect them.
Gustavo Rearte is a senior majoring in political science. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.