Red, color experts tell us, is a serious color. It denotes passion, heat, importance, even danger. Power ties, celebrity carpets and stop signs are all red. Red says, "Stop what you're doing and pay attention."
So it was with 2004. From the red-state heartland that re-elected President Bush to Mel Gibson's blood-splattered "The Passion of the Christ," 2004 was very red indeed. The long-suffering Boston Red Sox might even say God was feeling kind of red when he intervened to break the curse and allow them a World Series championship.
Bush's win in the country's crimson center, and Gibson's unexpected success with "The Passion," were both fueled by conservative and evangelical Christians, who flexed their cultural and political muscles everywhere from the ballot box to the box office in 2004.
The term "values voters" gained prominence in the American political lexicon. It was, as the San Diego Union-Tribune put it, the year of the "`Passion of the Christ' vote."
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