February 07, 2009

A SAFE ZONE

I didn't see Jay Nordlinger's My Kingdom For a Safe Zone when it came out, but I just saw that Varifrank linked to it. The stories are all too familiar, but the very last one is just abominable.

My personal philosophy is to always assume that I'm surrounded by Democrats. I never assume that someone agrees with me until I have it 100% confirmed, on his initiative. And even then, I am quite reluctant to go the full nine yards.

Only once have I heard a conservative make me uncomfortable in public like this. I was at my knitting group and a woman stopped by to see what we were doing. We told her we knit for preemies, and she remarked that she couldn't believe how tiny the little caps are. And then she said, "These babies can be born so small and still survive, and that's why I am pro-life." She continued talking for several seconds about abortion, and my eyes were like saucers. I am screaming in my head, "What are you doing, lady? Why do you assume that people want to have this conversation in the middle of a yarn store? Don't you realize you're being confrontational and controversial?" I found it horrifying, in the exact same way as when random tourists on the Vegas monorail blab on about Bush.

Despite the fact that I was sitting with a group of elderly women who knit for charity, I have never assumed that they are conservative or pro-life. I always assume that they disagree with me and that I should keep my mouth shut.

Sadly, these clods Nordlinger's readers wrote about haven't gotten the hint.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:59 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Isn't it amazing that we were supposedly living in a repressive Bushaitanic police state until the inauguratiOn, and yet you felt the need to keep your mouth shut even though you were on the side of the eeeevil regime? I'm keeping my mouth shut, no matter who's in office. Very frankly, I'd rather be raised by wolves than by humans. What is with this need to show off one's beliefs at every conceivable moment? "Look at me! I am gOOd!" The endless craving for approval is embarrassing. It shows that these people need to be validated by others. To be alone, to be unapproved - that is their worst nightmare. They must keep up with the latest definition of cOrrectness. They are creatures of fashion. Is that what humans are? Shouldn't our species be something more?

Posted by: Amritas at February 07, 2009 03:11 PM (Wxe3L)

2 Honestly, I have a hard time keeping *all* of my thoughts to myself unless it's a completely inappropriate time. It's just part of who I am; so much of what I do is motivated by deeper feelings and reasons, that it's all just integrated as one natural whole of my life at this point. The reasons that I pipe up are 1) because I feel that it's necessary to stand up and be counted, one way or another - I hold myself responsible for tacit consent; and 2) the truth matters - whether it's popular or not, it needs to be heard. (The feeling that I'm sufficiently skilled to *articulate* the truth as I understand it, OTOH... is that narcissism, or just duty-bound confidence? Well, whichever, it's necessary for blogging, at least, right? ;-) However, there are ways to express opinions that are less offensive (or even inoffensive to reasonable people); and I think *tact* is in short supply in society. People can disagree and still be respectful and/or civil. (No sophomoric jokes about the President's daughters, for example.) And if you never pipe up when you could be in the minority and have something to offer, (cowed by political correctness or just plain old fear), the majority remains ignorant; and in some cases, *dut-dada-DAH* Stupid Things can happen. That said, I would NEVER bring that sort of thing up while functioning in an official capacity at an event whose (? "which's?") purpose is not specifically politically-geared or tailored to that particular audience. It would be irrelevant *at best*. (That "classless society" quip was priceless, BTW.) Fluid, interpersonal dynamics are one thing; formal environments and ceremonies are quite another.

Posted by: kannie at February 07, 2009 09:47 PM (iT8dn)

3 I do the same thing except the other way around, of course. No dems in Texas really. I was at a party a few weeks ago and my dad and husband both called me out at dinner to a bunch of conservatives. No big deal if they're friends right? Well, two of them I know for sure will neither ignore my dem-ness nor discuss things without argument or acustion or getting angry. And of course they started to ask questions, I politely diverted the answers elsewhere but they still got mad. I was so embarassed that that problem had to come up. My dad and husband later apologized for putting me on the spot like that. I'm very good with guaging whether a person will talk politics with me but most of the time I feel such conversations go no where good. Even with people who agree with me, sometimes!

Posted by: Sara at February 08, 2009 05:21 AM (BmNMZ)

4 Usually I am the same; I just keep my mouth shut in general. But a couple of weeks ago walking to the bus after a long, frustrating day at work, after the third Greenpeace guy shoved a clipboard in my face and wouldn't leave me alone, I finally exploded with "No! I'm an 'evil conservative'; leave me alone!", and it worked. He looked surprised, and actually backed off. I have to admit that it felt good. I smiled to myself for a while on the bus ride home that day.

Posted by: Leofwende at February 09, 2009 06:56 AM (jAos7)

5 Leofwende, I'd have done the exact same thing if I were you. There is a proper time for outbursts. You were defending yourself against aggression in an explictly political situation. That's a rare circumstance for me. At work I never hold back when it comes to work-related matters. But politics? Religion? Not relevant and not worth fighting over as long as I'm in the office.

Posted by: Amritas at February 09, 2009 07:40 AM (+nV09)

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