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Am I Blue? Not on Your Life: Colorful Reflections of a Red-Voting Berkeleyan By RED LANDERS

Friday December 24, 2004

As you should know by now, in the current political vernacular, California is a Blue state. And as reported by Rob Wrenn in the Daily Planet (Dec. 7–9) the Bluest spot in our Golden state was Berkeley—where a full 90 percent of the citizenry voted Blue.  

Now, typically Berkeley trends more Blue-Green in elections. Sort of an Aquamarine. But this past November, Berkeley was True Blue, the Bluest of Blues. Not a muted, half-hearted Sky Blue or Royal Blue, but more like Indigo Blue or even Midnight Blue. 

Since the election though, I actually like to think of my fellow Berkeley residents as Black & Blue.  

Why? Because I am one of the very few Berkeleyites to vote Red. That wasn’t an aberration or a misjudgment, because I am Red to the core. Red-Red-rose Red. Fire-engine-Red Red. Or to put it in pure terms that everyone in Berkeley should understand—Reagan Red. 

The last year leading up to the November election was, to say the least, a Colorful one.  

I learned early on that here, in the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, my opinions were a Scarlet letter. In the summer of 2003, I made one political canvasser go Purple in the face at the Saturday Farmer’s Market when I told him that I was intending to vote Red. And last Fall, when a Brown shirt for a Democratic contender threatened to beat me into a bloody Red pulp on my own doorstep, I knew that I would have to tone my Red-ness down to a pure White noise. And so I did. My public persona became Beige. 

I was Beige this summer, when I left the Cheese Board one foggy Grey morning, and a young woman—smiling her pearly Whites and wearing the Light Blue shirt of the DNC faithful—asked me if I wanted to help oust Bush. I politely declined, all the while thinking, “How pathetic! Don’t they want someone to vote FOR? Then again, how can anyone be FOR that Colorless empty suit that they have nominated.”  

I remained Beige when I was invited to a fundraiser for MoveOn by my youngest child’s pre-school. My mind flashed from the school’s bright Yellow welcome sign with little Green, Orange and Purple handprints, to my collegiate study of Chairman Mao, his little Red book and how he used the indoctrinated, brainwashed youth of China in the 1960s to lead his bloody Cultural Revolution. I became Ashen at the correlation.  

On election night, when it became obvious that President Bush was going to be re-elected, I had the urge to go up on my roof in the Black of night and scream until I was Red in the face, “Take that, Berkeley! Your four years of fire Red hate has gotten you nothing but a great White Void! Four more years people, four more years!!” But instead, I went to bed to dream happy dreams—in Technicolor. 

Weeks have now passed since that Golden night, but I still see the Red rage in many Berkeley residents as they voice their various “Black Helicopter” theories that the election was somehow stolen. I remain Beige to your faces, uncommitted and seemingly unconcerned—but I wonder when the men in the White coats will come for you. 

But now in the spirit of the Holidays, I want to encourage all the Blue voters in Berkeley to come out of their deep Blue funks and, to paraphrase Elvis, “Have a (very merry) Blue Christmas—but without me.” Because I am Red with joy at the outcome of the election. Red with anticipation for the next four years. Simply, Red with excitement.  

And given the opportunity to switch places, I know that all of you are actually Green with envy. 


Editor’s Note: 

Welcome to our holiday reader contribution issue.  

The response to our call for submissions was overwhelming. Many wonderful stories came in, too many to fit in this issue. We added extra pages to fit in all that we could; we regret we can’t publish them all, though we hope to use a few more in upcoming issues. We enjoyed reading these and hope that you will as well. Thank you to all who sent us contributions and happy holidays.›