Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Crypto Conservatives

A friend needed to vent about life as a Crypto Conservative (or, as she called it, a marrano conservative). Both those terms relate to Jews in Inquisition Spain who were forcibly converted, but continued to practice their Judaism in private. These secret were called either crypto-Jews or marranos. She sent me this email:

My daughter has a classmate whose mother is a very tense, high strung, New York born actress. Several times she has made anti-Bush comments to me and I just smile wanly and nod -- no point in dialogue with her about it. Today as she made similar comments she looked at me more closely and realized, to her horror, that I was actually a misguided, crazy, uninformed person who didn't understand the real threat the Christian right poses. When I stated that radical Islam needs to be fought and poses a danger like that of the Nazis, her reply was,"It makes no sense to fight the Nazis by invading France" (a keen grasp of history she has). As she went on and on, "Osama Bin Forgotten", "divided nation", "I'm really scared", "Passion of the Christ","I just feel really strongly about this", it became so clear that her entire position is emotionally based. She accuses Bush of dividing the country, but it is she who demonizes anyone who disagrees with her. I truly wonder whether she will be able to look at me again. Even worse than voting for Bush, I'm a Jew who can't see the danger he poses. She is more afraid of American Christians than radical Islamists. Even though I laughed while walking home I have to say these weirdo encounters are just too uncomfortable.
Coincidentally, the same day I received this email, I was speaking to a friend who is an outspoken conservative but whose wife, like me, moves in social circles entirely made up of very liberal people. He was describing to me how she has become adept at smiling wanly, making no response, and quickly shifting the conversation. She just doesn't see that there is any mileage in alienating a social circle whose politics are driven by emotion, not analysis. I, of course, do the same thing -- wan smile (more of a rictus, really), and a quick conversation change. It would be braver of me -- of all of us, I guess -- simply to announce and defend our politics, but we don't. We're all 9/11 converts, so we're still moving in a world that we know is incredibly hostile to conservatives. We're also all women (oh my, goodness, is NOW going to be mad at more for saying this) but we may be less confrontational than men. After all, even hyperfeminists will admit that women strive for connection. Thinking about the experience my friends and I are having, I was reminded of an article I read after the election stating that there was a surprisingly high conservative vote in Beverly Hills last November -- that is, higher than the polls indicated. (Thanks to Gail's good post for helping me track down that link.) Clearly, a lot of erstwhile liberals in Beverly Hills were also embarrassed to admit their new politics. What I'm wondering is how many Crypto Conservatives are out there. And if you're not a crypto conservative, what are your feelings about those of us who are. I'd love some comments on this. UPDATE: I read this to mean that John Hawkins, over at the Right Wing News, has put his imprimatur on the Crypto-Conservatism I practice!