My friend Lora posted a great essay written by Jeremiah Goulka. In it he discusses his move from staunch liberal Republican to former Republican, and the eye-opening experiences he had that caused this change. A few excerpts:

Then something tiny happened that pried open my eyes to the less obvious forms of racism and the hurdles the poor face when they try to climb the economic ladder. It happened on an official visit to a school in a suburb of New Orleans that served kids who had gotten kicked out of every other school around.[…]

My tour guide mentioned that parents were required to participate in some school programs. One of these was a field trip to a sit-down restaurant.

This stopped me in my tracks. I thought: What kind of a lame field trip is that?

It turned out that none of the families had ever been to a sit-down restaurant before. The teachers had to instruct parents and students alike how to order off a menu, how to calculate the tip.

I was stunned.

That notion [our Republican version of “individual responsibility”] is fundamental to the liberal Republican worldview. “Bootstrapping” and “equality of opportunity, not outcomes” make perfect sense if you assume, as I did, that people who hadn’t risen into my world simply hadn’t worked hard enough, or wanted it badly enough, or had simply failed. But I had assumed that bootstrapping required about as much as it took to get yourself promoted from junior varsity to varsity. It turns out that it’s more like pulling yourself up from tee-ball to the World Series. Sure, some people do it, but they’re the exceptions, the outliers, the Olympians.