It is not polite to talk about politics. I know this, yet use every opportunity to talk about politics. It has never been my intention to be rude – I rather value courtesy – but have no plans to stop.
Blame Pauline Kael. Ms. Kael, a former film critic for the New Yorker is remembered to have said, “I can’t believe Richard Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”
I am a staunch conservative. I also live in New York and have spent a good amount of time in and around higher education. Outside academic settings I have often worked among public employee union members. Ms. Kael’s worldview is very familiar to me
So, perhaps Quixotically, I try to carry the conservative banner as often as possible.
Pauline Kael is not alone in living in a narrow liberal world. A few minutes of searching the web reveal lots of quotes from liberals who view opposing viewpoints as something altogether alien. Since the places where news is written, and entertainment is made, are so dominated by Left, that view can seem pervasive. It is somewhat understandable that someone who grows up in a coastal urban area, watches MTV and Jon Stewart, and attends college for four years is inclined to think of all conservative as dangerous.
Maybe this is why, as Charles Krauthammer said, conservatives tend to see liberals as wrong while liberals tend to see conservatives as evil. Fear of the evil label, of being called a fascist or racist, or being accused of hating the poor, or some such nonsense, effectively silences many who may lean Right.
In communities I know, the very idea that one could be other than a Democrat is strange. I know scores of people who have consistently voted Democrat and would never even consider a Republican, despite personal views that closely align with typical Republican positions.
A recent Pew survey showed that liberals are the least tolerant of differing political views, and much more likely to end a friendship with someone they disagreed with. This is not news to conservatives, at least not those who live in New York, or watch television, or read the New York Times.
I am a vocal conservative not so much to change any minds – though that would be wonderful – but to show that conservativism is an alternate option to reflexive liberalism.
Regularly, something strange happens. Someone I know pulls me aside, and in hushed, almost conspiratorial tones, “comes out” as a conservative. It’s quite bizarre actually. But when a successful, well-educated person glances around before telling me they support the Paul Ryan budget plan, or some such, it is very encouraging.