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?