You said, “ If I told my friends that I have no interest in the movement they would probably vocally harass me and end the friendship all together.” Is that what you think of your “friends”? SO you haven’t actually been pressured by anyone in parti…
Penelope Rose Faul
Oh, non-left women deal with this on a regular basis. It is utterly normal. It came up a few days ago in a post by Stevie Trujillo and I wrote about it years ago, when some young friends came to visit. (Happens to young women more, it seems.) From 2011. [Edited for broken links and formatting since it is getting recommended.]
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2011
But you seem so normal.
Comrade C and his family came to London. As per my usual, I took them to tea at the place with the nude in mosaic. The girls are in high school. They are Christian and conservative and sadly accustomed to the “but you seem so smart/normal/nice/well informed” remarks.
Such comments are common conversation topics when conservatives get together. I told them about the recent, “I can’t believe my best friend is a Republican.” article in Salon. Read the whole thing, but this bit caught my attention:
When I moved to Los Angeles, the 2004 election had just finished ravaging the neighborhood. Friendships had ended over differences of opinions, a few marriages had learned what they were made of when one couldn’t abide what hadn’t been that big of a deal before 9/11. And so when I met Janet, she was on the defensive. That first dinner at her house, someone brought up her Republicanism. I looked down into my soup, sure this was something we shouldn’t talk about. I don’t remember the comment, or Janet’s reply, but I remember my husband asking why she’d be friends with all these liberals — and yes, it was only liberals at the table — if she felt so strongly. Throwing her hands up, she said, “I guess I lack the courage of my convictions.”
But it’s not that. I don’t speak for Janet, but I think there’s something deeper at play. Janet’s willingness to associate with so many liberal friends — though I know she seeks refuge in chat rooms and magazines that share her beliefs — makes her a better and more interesting person. She has her beliefs challenged constantly. She is more well-read and educated in her politics than most of the liberals I know. Too many liberals I know are lazy, they have a belief system that consists of making fun of Glenn Beck and watching “The Daily Show.” Shouldn’t their beliefs be challenged, too?
I won’t quibble with Taffy’s conclusion about liberals needing to be challenged, but she is wrong about the reason for her friend’s comment. She missed, or avoided, that her friend’s comment about courage of her convictions was ironic. Her friend doesn’t lack the courage of her convictions. In a moment of frustration, she was accusing liberals of lacking the courage of theirs.*
Liberals tell us that they are the most open and tolerant, yet it is the liberal Janet who can’t look her friend in the eye and missed the subtle jibe that refusing to socialize with the Other is hardly courageous. It is the friend who is willing to sit amongst the Other, willing to have her beliefs challenged, willing to calmly explain and defend her beliefs to someone who sometimes won’t even look her in the face. It is the friend who will have to endure the common smear that conservatives are so intolerant that we must find it difficult to associate with people with whom we disagree — while we sit amongst those with whom we disagree.
We conservatives know of liberal contempt. Liberals should not imagine that they hide it well. When the friend seeks refuge in chat rooms and magazines, I assure you that the topic of the left’s impressive irony resistance capabilities comes up from time to time. Sometimes we get weary. But we pick up and carry on. After all, we aren’t going to win any hearts or minds by crying on a pillow or preaching to the choir.
*Note, we conservatives do respect the courage that people like Taffy have. We know how our liberal friends have to defend themselves and, perhaps, to keep us separate from their other friends. Some are braver than others, of course, but we know they come under fire for associating with us. The effort does not go unnoticed.