Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rightwing Regret

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.


betmo said...

forgive me for being skeptical- and no offense to your family- but these folks never see. it is too easy to just blame half of the country for being 'heathens' and loathe them than to think- gee, i have been blindly following evil morons for the better part of my life. i have a friend who votes repub- and i like her too. while i doubt she will vote democrat in this next election, i intend to ask her why she would vote for 8 more years of--- this.

Mike V. said...

well, I can see why you're constantly amazed.. :)

yea, it's a weird conversation.
There are SO many people that will vote away from their own interests (and the interests of working people) that is' truly staggering.
the wedge issues work, man.
religion, race, sexual orientation.
it all works.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"well, I can see why you're constantly amazed.. :)"
LOL! I second Mike.:)

"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."
You're a better man than I am. I have a bunch (nearly all) in my family, and we can't be in the same room sixty seconds without major league sparks flying, then given my mouth, blue sparks.:)

Imo, the key to all such people is Fundamentalism. Listening to that stuff for any length of time will make mush out of your brain, and that's exactly it's intended to do, among other things!

I often have such conversations as you had, while waiting in line at grocery stores. I asked one Fundie, when we were bemoaning the price of gas, "why do you think it went that high?" He got a puzzuled look on his face, and said, "I really don't know."

When removed from the influence of that cult, and the nonstop lies of Bush, et al, they really are capable of rational thought, at least some. What they are utterly incapable of doing, is connecting the dots, because Fundamentalism has so brainwashed them with its brand of hatred and denial, that it becomes inconceivable to them Bush could be at fault. It's not ever supposed to happen, so therefore, it doesn't.

Good Post!!

nunya said...

What a gentle soul you are :)

SheaNC said...

Betmo: You're right, she will not see the light as we do. But a few vivid colors may permeate the fog :)

Mike V: Wedge issues seem to be all they have, and they do work. After all, who cares about privatizing our colonial expansionism into a fascist enterprise, when Obama's not earing a flag pin!?

Future: Thanks. Why is it that they are so unable to think for themselves? I think they are victims of their own psychology... and they made us their victims, too.

Nunya: Thanks, but I have been accused by more than one right wing blogger of being nothing but a hot-tempered, irrational, vulger-language-dependent socialist radical! (I could lead to to the link to an old blog argument... hoo boy!)