I'm curious what inspired you to pick the job to begin with, because if you didn't know about merits or HNMs, even the concept of being a good soloist would be left incredibly vague. You had to have read something somewhere, or at the very least came in with some kind of preconceived notions, biased toward one style or not, that fundamentally don't make you all that different from us.
I picked Red Mage because I figured it would be a good way to get my feet wet in a bunch of different roles without having to level a bunch of different jobs when I was first starting out. The only thing I was really working off was a brief blurb on wiki and a quick glance over the job's wiki page. I figured it would be terrible at everything and good for a laugh as my friend and I tried the game out for the two week trial. I had absolutely no idea I had picked one of the most powerful and in-demand classes. It never really dawned on me until later when I started to research the game, at which point I was already pretty settled into the job. It was a ton of fun and had delivered what I expected, a chance to experience meleeing, healing, nuking and had a penchant for enfeebling which has always held a special place in my heart. However, as the levels progressed it became increasingly clear to me that my melee contributions were falling further behind than ever, while my magical side was keeping pace just fine and even becoming more useful. Melee was something I outgrew as the job leveled. I still spent an inordinate amount of time swinging my sword on my own time, but in a party situation I saw both in myself and others, the horrendous shortcomings it had. But I was ok with that. The mage side of the job was just as rewarding and in many situations moreso.
Our magical side quickly eclipsed our melee side so completely that it simply made more sense to focus on that. Mage-mode is our greatest strength, while the sword remains little more than an icon left over from some concept art.
Nobody doubts your fondness for RDM, wherever those motivations lie, but some might wonder why you seem so content on holding others who also love the job back.
Saevel apparently does. Since I'm not in love with RDM melee I'm a dirty filthy bandwagoner who just picked it for easy mode invites, merits, HNM resumes, etc.
If all it really boils down to is feelings of impossibility or wasting dev time, all I can say is you're wrong. PS2 limitations might be a convenient excuse at times for various game impossibilities, but that's not really what's been affecting RDM regardless of play style. We can all sympathize with feelings of the devs wasting time or even lacking resources to get sh*t done, but let's not confuse wasting with different sets of priorities. Gouging our own eyes out isn't going to get them to be more ambitious. Frankly, all jobs should be pissed about the stagnation and imbalances that have plagued the game over the years. Some speak out, sure. Some get branded as whiners, you bet. Some even get "fans" that love to trash talk behind their back. But if there is ever any ounce of truth in a complaint, it is not a waste to investigate. SE doing nothing for an issue is something that we, as players and customers, should not tolerate. If it means shoving the inaccuracies of the Manifesto down SE's throat, go for it. I'd actually like them to tell the truth about RDM and their intentions for once, too. And if the pro-casters are truly the sizable majority they like to claim to be, unite and be productive toward your cause instead of destructive toward the pro-melee. As I've tried to say before, our goals aren't exactly mutually exclusive.
People aren't vocal when they're content and everything's pretty good, which is the situation Red Mage was in for a long time if you weren't in the melee camp. You don't make several hundred threads screaming about how much you enjoy the job. No, you make several hundred threads screaming about how upset you are that you don't get to use part of your job that stopped being relevant dozens of levels ago.
You guys aren't a majority Seriha, you're an extremely vocal minority. Or at least that is the impression I get given my experiences on forums and in-game. Sadly there's no way to determine which it is so both camps will inevitably continue screaming at each other until the servers shut down.