The new pariahs are -- Republicans!
Liberals, of course, call us the haters. When's the last time a Republican has posted pictures of political opponents in blackface?They always start political conversations. None of us do. We have learned that no one wants to argue issues on their merits, that the room gets very quiet and unfriendly, that people start screaming at you, or rant the most loopy beliefs and conspiracy theories. We just assume that is not a topic anyone can treat in a dispassionate manner.I've noticed this for years, and it seems to have gotten worse. You'd think that none of these liberal activists knew that about half the country voted for Bush, and the other half for Kerry.
But they always provoke political conversations. Well, not conversations, which would be enjoyable and enlightening. They make pronouncements. And look around the room to see if anyone not only doesn't agree, but doesn't agree enthusiastically. As a friend deep in the closet in the theater world put it, you can't just sit quietly and wait for the topic to change. No, you are suspect if you do not vocally endorse the official opinion of the group. You thought you were in a project meeting or a coffee klatch or a dinner party, and all of a sudden it has turned into the Communist Youth League Self-Criticism Session.
And then, after they have assumed, because no one in the room has fangs or horns, that a political support group is what everyone wants (and they do, except for you) - if you express your difference of opinion, they are offended that you spoiled the intimate feeling in the room by being other than they assumed, based on their superficial reading of you. In other words, they brought up politics, but they are the only ones who get to play.
I survive among my relatives by virtue of (a) distance; and (b) a tacit agreement not to discuss politics. Fortunately, we go way back, 'cause I'm old, and they like me, they really really like me! So my conservatism they see as an affectation, kind of like my old professor who wore only hypoallergenic jumpsuits.