I Guess Some People Will Never Get It
In my post yesterday urging people to read Lew Rockwell’s article on Katrina and the Government, I made the following statement: “Perhaps this catastrophe and Dubya's response to it will be the final straw needed to deprogram those people still captivated by Bush and his neocon propaganda.”
Would that such logical consequences actually take place in real-world America. I should have known that this statement would sound like one made by someone high on crack. Allow me to ramble here on something that has really been getting under my skin for a long time.
I received a call last night from my parents in California who are currently playing host to the woman who, twenty-seven years ago when both of us were teenagers, was my partner in a summer exchange program between Germany and America. She and her husband are visiting California with their 13-year-old son for the first time in a decade and my folks wanted to give me the opportunity to chat with her, since we rarely get a chance to communicate except every few years, and then only for a brief few minutes. At any rate, our conversation was a very pleasant one that didn’t touch at all on American politics or current events (and which also brought me to the embarrassing realization that my once-native fluency in German had deteriorated hideously, especially when compared with the fluency of her English, but that’s a whole other post) .
No, it was the conversation with my father before Gudrun and I talked that had me reeling with suppressed rage and disbelief. In our ten-minute conversation that focused itself largely on current events, the very first words out of my father’s mouth were “how can people be criticizing Bush for what’s happening with federal relief? He had no idea this was coming and he’s done everything humanly possible. Just more of the usual leftist bashing!”
I wanted at that moment to scream with all the fiber of my being and launch into a tirade that would have been began with me asking my father what planet he has been living on for the last week and if he has dared to watch any other media coverage of this disaster than that provided by the Faux News Network (a.k.a. Neocon Propaganda Central). I know what the response would have been. Those of you who have read my posts from late July while I was visiting my parents probably have some idea of just how excruciating a conversation with either one of them can be, especially being as obsessed with pseudo-rightwing politics as they are. It’s as if no dialog can take place on any subject without political overtones working their way into it, and woe be unto anyone who dares disagree with the neocon agenda. I just don’t know how to talk to them anymore, since rational discourse on anything is impossible.
Reluctantly swallowing the bait, I asked my father what he thought of Bush’s pathetic, disjointed speech the other day. I also asked him what he thought of Bush being missing in action until four days after catastrophe struck (remember 9/11?), when the Fratboy-in-Chief finally condescended to visit the disaster area (albeit safely ensconced in an aircraft flying several hundred feet above all of the suffering, but apparently still sufficiently close in his mind for him to have “seen the suffering firsthand”, a la Bill Clinton’s “feeling [their] pain”). Did he think this vindicated Bush’s “leadership?”
True to form, Dad praised Bush’s speech as being the epitome of eloquence under adversity and wondered what I would have had Bush do differently. Rather than get into what I knew would be a long, no-win argument that would surely turn ugly, I simply said that I would furnish him with a whole laundry list of things at a later date and time, something that I fully intend to do (and will probably publish here).
So it’s official: my own parents are brainwashed members of one of the most destructive cults ever visited upon the United States of America (and, owing to its belligerent and interventionist nature, the world at large). Maybe it will take a major earthquake hitting central California, one of such catastrophic magnitude that no one goes unscathed, for their views to change. I have no doubt that just as the Bush regime calculated that there is no political hay to be made from rescuing underclass Blacks from a flooded New Orleans, we can similarly assume that far-left California that so loudly gave Bush and Company the middle finger in both elections 2000 and 2004 will be abandoned to the dogs of fate as well should it suffer its own catastrophe. It will be very interesting to see if the Reagan Republican rhetoric that my parents love to platitudinously spout in public will remain in tact once their overpriced, flimsily-built stucco house is in ruins, they are without electricity, running water, or fresh food (hopefully in the middle of Summer), and lawlessness runs rampant through Silicon Valley. No doubt they will focus all of the blame on California’s own loony liberals, whom they will claim are somehow responsible for some nefarious obstructionist act preventing the almighty federal government from providing relief to the beleaguered white middle class who are most entitled to it (I seriously doubt they will be very worried about whether the Bay Area’s urban Black poor or the inhabitants of the barrios of the East and South Bay get their fair share of help). This from a couple who railed loudly against the evils of Social Security until they became old enough to start drawing it, at which point it mysteriously became an untouchable sacred cow.
All of that said, it dawned on me last night that for the next fifteen to twenty years (my parents are both in their mid seventies, but in excellent health) my relationship with Mom and Dad is going to be a proverbial walk on eggshells unless I cease to be concerned about their feelings and simply assert my own viewpoints when they choose to talk politics, consequences be damned. I would much rather have things remain apolitical, focusing our precious times together and conversations on things spiritual and family-related rather than poison the waters between us. Yet like the parent whose drug or alcohol- addicted child’s behavior has turned them into an alien being who makes life unbearable, I realize that they are subsumed by something that gives a certain perverse meaning to their lives. I suppose living three thousand miles away on the other side of the North American continent is a blessing in disguise, but to have such a painful point of contention come between us in what are their twilight years really hurts.
I suppose that ultimately the only thing to do is pray that something brings them to their senses in much the same way that certain events lead one to become born again in Christ (to use a less-than-appropriate analogy). In short, let them see and think for themselves and draw their own conclusions based on reasoned observation and interpretation of facts, which is the only solution any libertarian could sanction. I still might not like the ultimate outcome, but to each individual his own conscience.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.