Thursday, July 24, 2008

Padre Perplexed

A Photographic Re-enactment of Yesterday's Phone Call

The Lovely Mona and I left the U.S.A. in July of 1999, so we've been away for a while. Usually one of us visits during the year, so we haven't been completely cut off. In fact, our time as missionaries has been quite different than the experience of my grandparents and parents. When my parents were serving as missionaries with the Far East Broadcasting Company in the 1960's, their terms were for four years at a time, and they didn't visit the U.S. during their term. After their first term, we all returned to the U.S. for a one-year furlough. The Lovely Mona and I haven't had any furloughs, but at least one of us returns to California during the year. For the past two years we've had a high-speed internet connection which enables us to listen to NPR on the iTunes, so we have a reasonable idea of what is going on back in the States. But just because we have an idea of what is going on doesn't mean we understand what is going on.

I've been paying attention to what's going on in the States; I read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle on-line every morning, and I read lots of political blogs and listen to the radio. I'm aware of the mortgage crisis, the banking crisis, the food-that-will-kill-you crisis, and of the wars-without-end. I personally do not understand how the Republican party expects anyone to vote for them with their record. However, my parents are hard-core Republicans. They get their news from Fox News. They are sure that all network news broadcasting, except for Fox, has a liberal bias. I, of course, disagree and would be happy to actually see some liberal bias in network news broadcasts (My parents also live in the Diocese of San Joaquin and think that JDS is a holy man).

So, now that you know the lay of the land, I was on the phone with da folks yesterday, avoiding any discussion of their "diocese" and "bishop" (and the fact that their church is down to only forty members), when they brought up their financial problems and the current banking crisis. And my mom says "Well, we're just wondering where the Regulators were while this was going on?" Thank God I had no beverage or food in my mouth! I sputtered a bit and said, "Well, gee, Mom. The Regulators were looking the other way because your Party, the Free-Market Republicans, have been whining about regulations since the Reagan years and doing everything to get rid of any regulation. That's why your food is poisonous, why the banks are failing, why everything is falling apart. The crazy idea that industries would regulate themselves under the pressure of free-market forces is a lie. The very reason we have regulations is because industries can not be trusted to regulate themselves." Then, to shock me, SHE AGREED WITH ME. But then she blamed the tainted jalepeños on Mexican imports, not locally produced jalepeños (I personally have trouble believing that salmonella can live on a jalepeño; ¡por fa VOR!). I discussed Upton Sinclair and how we were supposed to have learned this way back then, but Republicans still haven't figured that out. But you know, even though they are no longer Middle Class and are just hanging on by a thread, and even though the policies of the Republican Party has never helped them in the least, they will vote against their own interests. They were children during WWII (my mom spent three years of her childhood imprisoned by the Japanese in the Philippines) and really buy all that We-are-the-only-true-patriots propaganda of the GOP.

So now I'm worried, because there just may be lots of folks like my parents, people who have been screwed by the GOP and its policies who simply aren't ready to let go of the myth of the Free Market and will vote for a party with no interest in protecting the people from greed and tainted food, a party which is only interested in protecting the interests of the greedy rich. I find this perplexing.

Are my parents alone, or do you know people like them?


FranIAm said...

Yo soy confundida!


Well my parents, dey live wit Jeebus now, or at least that is what I think.

My brother and sister-in-law who are 21 and 19 years older than me (they are 72 and 70)respectively are my right-wing-Repub-Conservo-Cath-wingnut barometers.

Sadly - I think that your parents are like many people who are so screwed that their hiney will hurt for 100 years.

My family is not among them. They have chosen to continue to blame only the Dems and the liberals.

And they will not vote for McCain who they think is a big-pinko-commie-Dem-in-disguise.

Nope, it is Bob Barr all the way for them, but if Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter had a ticket, they would be voting.

Poople of this generation - I presume your parents are just slightly older than my bro and SIL, are really reeling from what they believed in, no matter how that manifests itself today.

As you might imagine, we do not discuss politics or religion very much.

They were so glad when I returned to Holy Mother Church in 1990. However, I have cotinued to disappoint them with alarming regularlity ever since!

P.S. you like kinda confusedly cute in your photo. just sayin' tell TLM that i am not flirtin' wich you!

Jane R said...

Um, yes.

'specially here in da South, though of course I tend to run with the lefties (BIG surprise, ¿verdad?). Yes, we do have a bunch of those around. But Fox News is very big and we are the state that brought you Jesse Helms. (Though we also gave the nation Senator Sam Ervin of blessed memory.) So sure, people believe all kindza tings.

Also in Southern California they do and Northern South Dakota and all kinds a places.

You might want to chat with our pal The Cunning Runt at Little Bang Theory. He started having a dialogue with some pro-war demonstrators in the interests of Bridging the Gap and also of Talking About the Facts, Just the Facts and he had some very interesting and thoughtful (and sobering) observations. Lemme see. Here. And here. And here. And here. I really appreciated his posts.

Some of what is going on is what I've been calling The Triumph Of Ideology Over Facts. If ya wanna believe it ya believe it. Evidence has nothing to do with it.

Plus you know the working class is not conscientized here. Hell, nobody talks about the working class except some (not all) unions and a few pinko academics.

Okay, I am about to go to the Belly of the B-- er, Our Nation's Capital, tomorrow very very early, so I have to go pack.

It does make one worried about the election.

PseudoPiskie said...

"Some of what is going on is what I've been calling The Triumph Of Ideology Over Facts. If ya wanna believe it ya believe it. Evidence has nothing to do with it."

That's what my rich Republican bro says about religion. But he dislikes Bush and can't understand why anybody voted for him at least the 2nd time.

Matty Boy said...

My mom has a very nice woman who is her caregiver, who believes Obama is a Muslim and won't pledge allegiance.

And reading on my old buddy Dave Johnson's blog, there are people on the right who believe conspiracy theories that would make the guys on the old KFJC talk show One Step Beyond shake their heads in dismay.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Oh, man, don't get me started. It's like my pet peeves about health care. All the docs in town holler about how the insurance companies screw them but they are all Republicans so insurance company reform was out of the question!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

It's's loyalty in the face of wrong actions...this is a sickness, it's thinking there are extra points for STANDING FIRM (with those dorks) with those you think you ought to TRUST because TRUSTING is not JUDGING (it's lazy and slothful but seems honorable)...honestly, there are feardriven and off-centered targets walking around and they don't know what to do so they revert to the tried and true (or somethun like that)...hate to say it but someone sold them more than the Brooklyn Bridge and they are still willing to think the best of them in the face of gross incompetancy, greedy actions and neglect (especially the case for people who are loyal to the grandiose/double-talking rampaging self-destructive x-bishop of San Joaquin...if they've gotta a little I LIKE IKE button in their scrap book they are vulnerable...the God that I know wants me to discern right from wrong almost every minute of vacations from saying yes and no and then acting on the results of those determinations...what a challenge taking personal RESPONSIBILITY!

Bless your parents, mine were Republicans too (and never said they minded a moment that I wasn't one...they valued freedom of choice...something I don't think Schofield even understands).

Cany said...

I had this very discussion the other day with a very conservative friend of mine.

I finally (half in frustration and half in sincerity) said, basically, look--skip the Obama is a Muslim stuff... don't play into that nonsense. Learn what the two candidates stand for and where you agree and disagree. Then let's talk.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Ann said...

Do I know people like this? OMG- just about the entire population of Wyoming except for a few blue state of mind folks in Sweetwater County (home of Teno Roncalio of blessed memory), the reservation and a few others of us in Fremont Co (can't put stuff over on the native people- they don't trust any gov-types) and Teton Co - Jackson Hole.
My mother said before she died (she was a Republican - my dad a Democrat) - maybe I was right and she was wrong about Kennedy et al. She was also a stalwart pro-choice worker - found friendly doctors for "girls in trouble" as we called it in those days.
You touched my rant on switch!!

Jane R said...

Oh and I have two more words for you: TALK RADIO.

I just drove through the state of Virginia today (on way from NC to DC where I am dashing off this brief thought I had as I was driving) and as I was approaching Washington, DC, on FM radio not even AM, I heard 5 mn of a talk show (not my usual snooty NPR fare but the other stuff, which I do listen to every four to six months to remind myself that it is there) and 5 mn was all I could bear. (Examples: 1) the government is invading our homes --and the host wasn't talking about FISA but about something in the public schools which he did not make clear at all but which was NOT Let's Leave Children Behind; and 2) The one good thing that will happen if Obama is elected is that it will get rid of Affirmative Action once and for all -- followed by amazing amounts of racist claptrap including jokes plus distorted facts galore) - and this is talk that many, many people listen to, believe in, participate in, and support.

I'm just sayin'.

The rest of the time I listened to the BBC, sang a few hymns in different languages, and did a whole lot of belting out songs at the top of my lungs in tune with the radio -- Central Virginia has a lot of oldies stations! Also really dreadful Bible stations and an evangelism station that was playing muzak Christmas songs. (I only belted out the oldies, hearing the muzak Christmas music was an accident of the dial-flipping.)

Ya wanna get to know the US of A, take a road trip in either a Southern or a Midwestern state and flip the radio dial.

Also: I want to know why I remember all those lyrics from rock songs of the 60s and 70s (and a few from the 80s) and not mathematical equations or the full text of the Athanasian Creed (which wasn't written by Athanasius as you well know). I know, it helps when there's a catchy tune. But I don't think that's the whole story.

Sorry to ramble - just meant to write a short note on TALK RADIO, ugh and oy!

Cheers from Our Nation's Capital where family time is in full swing (Lambeth will do fine without my watching every other hour, besides which, +Maya is keeping an eye on things as much and as little as necessary)

Mary Clara said...

My late parents are perfectly described by your last paragraph. It was always so painful to see the level of denial that was at work. They are no longer here to cast their votes, but I know there are people who think like them in all parts of the country, and big numbers of them in some places.

I had dinner with a friend yesterday evening who thinks Bush & Co are doing a great job.

My alma mater is about to become the home of the GW Bush Presidential Library and Neocon Think-Tank. The fact that this dastardly initiative was not halted by a massive revolt on the part of the university's alumni/ae, faculty, and the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church tells me that a great many people in the SMU constituency are susceptible to the whole package of beliefs being sold to them by the Bushites. And these are people who have been to school.

And yes, as Ann says, there are all those folks in Wyoming. If I get up the gumption to attend my 50th high school reunion in Casper next year, I don't think there will be many there who share my belief that our classmate Dick and his boss should have been impeached while they were in office and should still be brought up on war crimes charges.

So I think you are right to be worried, Padre Mickey. I am more than just worried.

johnieb said...

My brother thinks that all the troops should be brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan to gun down "drug dealers & welfare moms" in the U S. Forty years ago he would have been (maybe he was) in the Klan. He has been doing OK, working in the armaments industry for thirty years.

Do I know him? No, nor do I want to. It's been all I could do on more than one occasion to keep from killing the asshole.

Lisa Fox said...

I strongly recommend that everyone read Deer Hunting with Jesus (by Joe Bageant) to get a look into the minds of these people who can so clearly vote against their own self-interest. He's a clear, funny writer and is on a rant that the working class keeps "bending over" to the GOP.

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