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A curious phenomena

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Have you ever noticed that conservatives tend to be much more reserved and guarded in sharing their political views than liberals?

I have observed that, with the obvious exception of moi and a few others, trying to get a conservative to discuss politics is like pulling teeth. Typically, a conservative's opinions are likely to be relatively neutral and carefully worded, if they are willing to offer an opinion at all. But a liberal will usually just chatter on at length in a free-associational rant about Trump, the religious, cops, corporations, red state people, the rich, Republicans, and any other group which has incurred their displeasure. You can count on hearing the talking points from the Sunday news shows, Rachel Maddow, and Trevor Noah cited as indisputable "truths."

Pollsters report that conservatives are reluctant to answer their questions or to even talk to them, and that conservative opinions tend to be undercounted.

The conservative reticence is especially pronounced in cops and in academia. On campus, woe to the person who admits to even centrist views. I imagine that Cuesta College Trustee Pete Sysak regretted expressing his moderately conservative views on Facebook after mobs of the pathologically woke demanded his head. The personal Facebook accounts of cops are constantly screened by the ever-vigilant Leftist Thought Police for anything critical of BLM, a group that routinely attacks all cops as murderous racists.

I first noticed this phenomena few years ago while on an exercycle watching the evening news on the gym television. Raising her voice above my tortured wheezing, a woman on the bike next to me began commenting on some political news piece, angrily assailing the Republicans. By her tone, it was obvious that she assumed that I must have been in complete agreement with her. This sort of encounter, with both strangers and casual acquaintances alike, has occurred a number of times. Yet I can't recall a single instance of a stranger with conservative views ever initiating a political discussion or assuming that I was a like-minded believer, despite the fact that conservatives make up roughly the same proportion of the population as liberals. Why is this?

Predictably, you liberals will reply that we conservatives are just properly ashamed of our views and too embarrassed to admit them. But the reality requires that you to look into yourselves and your "cancel culture."

The liberal worldview is an angry, starkly contrasted place divided into polarized sides or tribes, of "them" and "us," and every position in the political spectrum viewed according to whether "my tribe" supports or opposes it. You dare not go against the liberal herd. On matters of race, any position is either "woke" or "racist," and no middle ground or nuance is accepted, nor contradictions recognized. Defunding the police is woke, while opposing it is racist. For some liberals, the primary objective is to purge their sense of white guilt, rather than benefit the Black community going forward. How else can you explain neurotic white liberals actually paying to attend trainings in which they will be harangued over their privilege and inherent racism?

In a sense, I suppose it is flattering to have them assume I am another liberal. The good-hearted, oblivious liberal just assumes the best about everyone they meet, and since no decent, moral person could possibly see things differently than they do, those who they meet must also be liberal. Strangers are presumptive members of the liberal tribe, at least if they don't have a MAGA hat or a NRA pin.

It is easy to understand how a liberal might get this perspective. If you get your world view from the sleek, hip, charismatic folks in entertainment, athletics, and the media establishment, you assume that all the "cool kids" buy into this sort of thinking. Of course, to conservatives, this sounds like bragging that you sit at the "cool" table in the mental hospital.

Conversely, we conservatives are long accustomed to being ideological lepers exiled into the wilderness of unpopular thought. We've been outliers since the 1960s and frequently pressed into service as targets for the mirth and mocking of the fashionably hip cognoscenti and their worshipful acolytes.

Sometimes, we conservatives find ourselves viewed as some sort of incomprehensible exotic by our liberal friends, much like a pal who is a headhunter, or an uncle who just won't stop talking about his alien abductions and probes. You might hear yourself explained away as, "Well, he is a nice guy but ... ."

Many of you liberals have unsuspected closeted conservative friends who you just assume are apolitical or disinterested in the issues of the day. We're not. It is just that the professional and social penalties for forbidden thoughts are so onerous that many of us just prefer to keep our heads down and stay quiet. But, as you discovered in 2016, we vote. Δ

John Donegan is a retired attorney in Pismo Beach who, because he is retired, can rant with impunity and just won't shut up. Send a response to his rants with a letter to the editor emailed to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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