Socially vs. politically correct
It has been my experience to note that liberals (and I have loved many of them in my life) will often (invariably, if you wait long enough) inject their political opinions into a social conversation, no matter how casual (at a dinner party, block party, in line at the grocery store, etc.), in the evidently unquestioning and childlike assumption that everyone present will find their political comments both welcome and correct. It seems to me that liberals are unique in having no scruples or bashfulness about sharing their political views in the company of one and all, friends and strangers, while seeming never to realize they have done anything at all controversial. It's almost as if they don't realize other people could ever legitimately have other views. Or perhaps it is more like the behavior of fundamental evangelists whose divine mission to save your soul outweighs any mere social convention. In other words, they purposely raise rudeness to a virtue by considering confrontation in social settings to be a virtue.
Sometimes it is just at first one or two words, an idle aside, a would-be witticism or a glancingly oblique joke (usually at the expense of that old familiar football, the most recent Republican President) inched forward as a liberal conversational touchstone. I have seen it so many times, in conversation and in art: liberals do this quite amiably and quite unapologetically, as if they simply can't stop themselves from testing (or polluting) the social waters to confirm who will respond favorably and thereby feed them back solidarity, appreciation, and familial agreement, reinforcing their political selves.
In fact, all social interactions are composed of these kinds of exploratory feints but through longtime tradition most social conversation purposely lacks the charged political content, if only as a concession of politeness to the host or hostess, or the innocent bystanders. Yet liberals seem blind to the difference discussing politics makes, and blind to the charge in the conversational bombs they matter-of-factly throw. In fact, they often seem pleased with themselves for portraying themselves as informed, open, daring, topical, and smart to bring up such subjects. All I can figure out is that they are either chronically deluded into thinking they are always surrounded by like-minded people who will share their sophisticated and knowing political opinions and worldviews--or they have no respect or cognizance for those who may not agree with them. It's a puzzle.
When a liberal injects unsolicited political opinions into a social situation, it is often seen by conservatives in the vicinity as a social gaffe. We are both embarrassed for them, and annoyed, for it leaves the conservatives within earshot in a mild but chronic dilemma. Should one chirp up forthrightly and offer a direct, equally sophisticated conversational parry to what the liberal has just said, or otherwise slap down the feelers the liberal has just put out for convivial agreement? And thereby be equally rude? Or should one continue to adhere to the traditional (and wise) custom of steering clear of talking politics and religion in polite society--while all the liberals in the room go on to yuk it up together?
It has been my lifelong experience that liberals and conservatives invariably clash on what constitutes a social conversation and what constitutes polite society. Hence the liberal is usually first to muddy the etiquette waters and the conservative is always debating with herself whether to just shut up and fume or walk away yet again, or to break her own etiquette code and draw attention to herself as a crank and a wet blanket who spoils all the suddenly energized liberal bonding in the room by throwing social bombs of her own and turning a friendly conversation into political debate unwanted by all. But conservatives are by nature rarely bomb throwers. They more often tend to turn aside and get on with more important and constructive things in life, leaving the liberals to game the room into a delusional echo chamber.
But the more conservatives walk away, the larger the echo chambers get. Classrooms. University departments. Editorial boards. School boards. City councils. The White House.
Begad, how dreary. There is a real cost to everyone when people who know better don't speak up to counter a wrong perception. And is this the thankless work to which I, an ordinary housewife, am morally obliged to dedicate my remaining years? In a would-be free society like ours, where debate is vital, I think the answer is yes.
Vital reading: A Conflict of Visions and The Vision of the Annointed by Thomas Sowell and anything by Jane Austen, unrivaled mistress of deft social conversations.
And maybe this: I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican by Harry Stein.