Cinnamon Stillwell, a brave and vocal neocon in the San Francisco Bay Area, was trading emails with me about coming out as a conservative, not to people we’ve just met, but to those who knew us when. (Cinnamon, incidentally, is not a closet conservative.) That conversation led to a great blog post Cinnamon did entitled “ Of High School Reunions and Political Persuasion.” Paraphrasing it doesn’t do it justice, and there is no one paragraph I can quote here without damaging the pleasure you’ll get from reading the whole thing in situ. All I can do is urge you to go over there and enjoy it, especially if you’re a neocon too.
For me, the part of her post that resonates most strongly is the difference between a blogger’s private and public persona. I certainly express myself more forcefully in my blog than I do in real life. In a real life conversation, if any given political issue comes up, I don’t hide my views. I do, however, approach them carefully in a Socratic manner, trying to get my fellow conversationalists to agree with me on a step by step basis, so that, even if they baulked at the ultimate conclusion, they will have gone so far down the road they can’t look at me like a diseased toad. I also avoid flip terms such as “multi-culti” or “moonbat.” I’m tactful about their views, even if I don’t understand or believe in them. These interactions are polite conversations, not soapbox lectures.
A blog, however, is a soapbox, and it’s my soapbox, so I can be opinionated, sarcastic, silly, loud and whatever else I please. That’s part of the pleasure, and it certainly makes my writing more interesting than it would be if I tried to transcribe a delicate, tactful, nuanced conversation.
Given these differences, with a soft conversational and a hard blog approach, I would prefer people to meet my new politics through conversation, not through my blog. I guess that’s one of the reasons I keep my blog identity so secret. I’m not embarrassed by my political views, in which I strongly believe, but I don’t think that the best way to come out of the closet to those you know is in full drag.* Better to ease people into the situation.
*As for the drag reference, here’s Cinnamon writing accurately about the phrase “closet conservative”: “a term the right has come to borrow, somewhat ironically, from the gay community.” I’ve always been sympathetic to the decision-making gays and lesbians go through when deciding whether or not to emerge from the closet, and, if they do decide to come out, to the decisions they make about their emergence, so I think the analogy is a good one.
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