I have two daughters who are confirmed Republicans and Bush supporters. I don't get it, and I even grieve about it, knowing in my heart that they love their parents but yet reject our politics. I remind myself that we have two sons and our oldest daughter who share our philosophies, yet I am bewildered how Skye (regular readers should know by now that she's our injured child) and Shiloh should have drifted so far from our teachings. I try to tell myself that this is evidence that they are free thinkers but the fact is, it is no comfort. This morning, for example, our youngest daughter Shiloh phoned me very early to tell me that she'd heard on the radio a report that Al Gore had told a Saudi audience that America was wrong in dealings with Muslims. Her reason for calling, she said, was to report that my three-year-old grandson Valor was "smarter than Al Gore." She said that when the radio commentator said that Al Gore thinks America is evil, my grandson cried out, "No, it isn't!!" (Valor is, unquestionably, precocious.)
A couple of years ago one of my progressive sprouts gave me as a joke for Christmas a Bush doll that quotes some of Dubya's more ridiculous, and dumb, pronouncements. Valor loves to push the buttons on "Bush" but of course he doesn't understand how ludicrous they are. Today, Shiloh told me that she'd heard a right-wing radio replay some of Al Gore's misstatements. She was tickled pink, after two years of listening to the Bush doll's inanities, to think that a Democrat could also make linguistic mistakes. She's looking now for an Al Gore doll that will counter my Bush doll.
I have a problem, I admit, reconciling the facts that two of my daughters are wonderful human beings who love their parents and have charity in their hearts for all humanity yet cling to the Republican myth that George W. Bush is some kind of mystical, magical father figure who will keep us all safe from murderous Islamofascists. Perhaps I should mention that both Skye and Shiloh have converted to Judaism and are strongly influenced by neocon philosphies centering on conservative Israeli interests. It's a debate their father and I can not win, because the terms of their thinking are that Israel is always right and Islam is always wrong. And beyond that, they think that Bush is terrific and anyone who opposes him is wrong and even stupid and evil.
I guess in a small way our family is a microcosm of America today. My two younger daughters are brilliant in so many ways, and yet we cannot influence them politically. They consider abortion an unparallelled evil, and therefore Bush and his Rethugs who support his position are in line with God's will, and even though they support gay rights, the abortion issue takes precedence over all other issues. They have no health insurance (their employers don't offer it), they depend upon their parents (us) to supplement or provide that cushion, yet they defend the pResident for not addressing that issue as if only deadbeats have the same problem (they, of course, are not in that category, since they have parents who can and will take up the debt ).
So what's the deal? I think that many Americans who have not yet faced the reality of having a lifetime of hard work and responsiblity wiped out by a single catastrophic illness or injury, cling to the Rethug propaganda that they are more worthy of citizenship because they are lucky enough to have a job or have a culturally superior ethnicity. So they vote Rethuglican because it makes them feel that they belong to the same privileged class that the pResident refers to when he talks about the"ownership society." So what are progressives to do? I have tried to appeal to my young daughters (before the 2004 presidential vote and since) that middle-and-low-income wage earners have no advocate in Dubya's agenda. But the fact is, they don't care. Their concern is all for the "values" campaign. And while I'm proud that finances don't determine their values, I'm flummoxed that they don't see that the economics of the Bush administration are a mirror of their values -- the rich count, everybody else doesn't.
So now we get to the latest news, which they always question me about. Their stance is, what's the big deal about Cheney shooting somebody? After all, it was an accident, he didn't do it on purpose, and the liberals are trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
I told them tonight, the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHOT A MAN, an uprecedented event (since Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton). Can you imagine if Al Gore or any other Democrat did the same?