Okay, so this weekend we had a little get-together with inlaws... specifically my wife's sister, brother, and his wife. I like 'em all and we all get along fine... and they're all republicans, of two different types.
My brother-in-law and his wife are the sort of suburban vote-against-their-own-interest republicans - the kind who condemn liberalism while spending their lives cashing in on liberal democrat policies. I mean, he works for the City, great salary and tons of benefits at taxpayer expense (and has used them a lot to the extent that they have saved his life and those of his children), bought his home through HUD, pro-union, etc., yet voted for Bush/Cheney right down the line. Whatever - like I said, I like them, and ignorance is a forgivable sin.
But my sister-in-law is more of a social conservative. Fundamentalist Christian, "pro-life" (I call it pro-birth), and pro-Bush. She believes what she's told by the right, and is so averse to conflict that, driven to practice avoidance as a coping mechanism, she would not be able to face the truth about the horrors that have been been committed in her name by the Bush/Cheney regime. I like her, too.
But here is the interesting part: at the end of the day, after the others had gone home and the sister-in-law lingered, the conversation got around to current quality of life. The price of groceries, etc. And my sister-in-law expressed great concern about how bad things are... "Why?" she would ask, "why are these food prices so high? What's going on!?" And so on, about gas prices, healthcare, etc. She's a nurse, by the way, and says the hospital she works for is losing money, etc. (and you know how much they charge).
It was really sad. I should have felt vindicated; that here was a "loyal Bushie" who is now reaping the bitter harvest of her support for the republican administration and it's eight years of insane and destructive policies, which have affected many different aspects of her life. I tried to explain to her that the food is expensive because the fuel used to produce it and transport it is so expensive, among other things. I tried to explain that a single payer healthcare system would be an improvement over the profit-first exploitation-medicince practiced in this country. I tried to explain that the "happiness level" in countries where people pay taxes to receive basic needs in return, such as healthcare and education, is higher than it is in America, where the corporate plutocracy is striving to revert to a Dickensian industrial age where the "middle class" no longer exists.
I explained my philosophy that the whole purpose of forming societies is so that the group can contribute to the common good; so that basic needs can be met by all. These include clean water, healthcare, and education. Those three things should be available, for free, to all, paid for by fair taxation.
To my surprise, she enthusiastically agreed. This Bush supporting, war supporting, anti-choice, fundamentalist, agreed with a philosophy of full-blown progressive liberalism. Of course, she didn't realize that's what she was agreeing to - if she did, it would be too much of a shock for her (and I mean that literally, not just as a figure of speech).
I imagine the conversation we had has been going on all over the country. Bush/Cheney supporters are suddenly confronted with the fruits of their actions. Whether they were innocent victims, "values voters" who were duped by the rhetoric, or foxophiles who knew what they were doing, some of them may now be realizing that their actions just may have been the cause of immense difficulty for millions of people all over the world (not to mention the agonizing death and maiming of so many others).
I know one, at least, who is shocked by the price-per-pound of bananas... one who may realize, too little too late, that she helped set the price herself.