“My best friend texted me last year to tell me she could no longer be my friend because I am a conservative and that basically means I’m an insurrectionist.”
“I haven’t seen my adult children in four years. They say FAUX NEWS has brainwashed me and I’m a racist and a homophobe because I voted for Trump.”
“My brother doesn’t want anything to do with my family anymore because we refused to take the COVID vaccine. He says we’re heartless QANON morons.”
All of the previous statements are variations of things I have been hearing from friends for the past few years. If you’re a conservative, chances are at some point in the last two years, someone you are close with felt it entirely appropriate to shame you, ostracize you, and condemn your value as a human being because of a vote you cast or a political opinion you held. You would think the progressive religious fanatics would have been thrilled with their overwhelming political victories in 2020. Instead, they have been increasingly cruel and judgmental. It’s almost as if they didn’t win anything at all.
Instead of basking in the glow of victory, progressives have waged an all-out cultural war on the rest of America, including their liberal counterparts. It was one thing when it was just conservatives being “cancelled” for conservative views. Now liberals and other leftists find themselves on the cultural chopping block for the tiniest, vaguest of offenses, like simply suggesting free speech is a right, or even just ‘liking’ a post the progressive mob does not condone. On university campuses, professors and students alike have been ostracized for stepping outside the lines of progressivism. Bret Weinstein lost his job, and possibly almost his life, for simply asking that students not be turned away from campus based solely on the color of their skin.
It seems no one is safe anymore. The mobs have taken the streets and social media. Their spies are everywhere. One wrong move invites the snitch-brigade. In a heartbeat you can lose your friends, your family, your job and your reputation, if just a single progressive decides you have broken church doctrine.
For many average Americans, this new reality has produced a chilling silence on their part. Many people don’t feel free to join political conversations happening around them. They fear being ostracized or worse.
I recently had a conversation with a college-aged friend, in which he confessed being away at school and witnessing progressive chaos there has only made him more right-leaning, but that he didn’t feel confident to offer many rebuttals. He said his main tactic was to mind his own business and let others bloviate, but he feels he is coming to the point where he should probably start being a bit more vocal.
My advice to him was to be discerning about when and where he reveals his opinions. The industry he is studying will demand a nuanced approach when it comes to dealing with politics and business, and sometimes, sadly, it simply isn’t “safe” to participate.
The other thing I told him is that there will come a moment when he will know it is time to stand up and be heard. He’ll feel it in his belly, and when it happens, he will need to be willing to accept whatever consequences come with the truth.
Not everyone is a political pundit-in-training. Not everyone feels comfortable vocalizing their politics. In this current atmosphere it is understandable. No one should be embarrassed for just not wanting to take on that risk.
But if you have the notion, let me give you some encouragement.
Sometimes, many times, when you take the risk to be vulnerable with your opinions, you’ll find that some people around you will thank you, and follow suit. Most people are not natural leaders, but I do believe that most people are also not progressives. Right now, the lunatics run the asylum, and the rest of us feel like we’re all alone in our estimation that they are absolutely insane.
When you’re brave enough to step out in front once in a while, you will be shocked to find how many sane people are standing right next to you.
They just need permission speak, and your act can be that permission.
During the height of COVID madness, I decided I was done with the masking. It felt like a lie on my face. I hated it, I know many readers did too. I decided I simply would not wear it into stores anymore and if I was asked to leave, I would do so quietly. I wasn’t trying to cause a scene, I was just…to put it bluntly…sick of this sh**. One day in the grocery store, as I was standing in line to pay, the young woman in front of me turned momentarily, and registered a look of surprise in her eyes when she saw my maskless face. I thought I was about to get an earful.
Instead, the young lady turned back around, and then quietly took her own mask off. She wanted to be free, she simply needed permission.
So, if you are inclined, take that risk and give permission to those around you who are a little less bold. You’ll be surprised to see how many allies you have around you. It’s part of the reason they want to scare us into silence. If we can’t identify our “brethren,” we can’t unite.
Permission to speak, granted.
Go have fun, you crazy kids.