Red Road Trip

Go ahead and protest the inauguration. But if you really want the Democrats to win next time, shouldn't you start to learn how the red half lives?

In the coming weeks, many of you will be piling into your Volkswagen Splitties and puttering cross-country to Washington, D.C., for what is sure to be the Super Bowl of civic demonstration: President Bush's second inauguration. The trip, done quickly, is a four-day tear down Interstate 80, but to travel this way is to miss an enormous opportunity, especially in this current era of Red America triumphalism. As Al From, of the Democratic Leadership Council, put it: "We've got to close the cultural gap." And in that spirit, we'd like to recommend a slightly more circuitous route, a zigzag through the reddest of the red, the cathedrals of American conservatism (of course, we've also located some "blue havens," where you might find a few fellow travelers). Watch these Red Americans in their natural habitat and learn from them, perhaps even offer them a small dab of blue. What you'll find, if you follow our travel guide, is that they're not so scary after all.

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