Most of us are in the closet, or we get treated like the people in the article.

So says Kesher Talk’s Judith Weiss (via PJM), as she reflects on a growing trend noted in the NYT and on the minds of many — the deliberate shunning and cutting off of friends and relatives because of their political beliefs.
Judith outlines a pattern very familiar to me:

“People just assume you’re a Democrat.” Boy do they.
Another thing they do which Kornblat doesn’t give an example of, but which we all have experienced: 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.
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’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.
Like many people, Judith notices that Republicans don’t behave this way towards Democrat friends. I think the reason is that Republicans are very accustomed to keeping their mouths shut, to not telling friends and coworkers how they voted. In some cases, their very livelihood depends on being “in the closet.”
While I can’t prove my suspicions, I’d even go so far as to speculate that one of the reasons the outing of gay Republicans struck a raw nerve is because so many non-gay Republicans are so used to life in the closet that they were quick to react to the real reason for the outing: what makes gay Republicans so disgraceful is not their homosexuality, but their Republicanism! While Democrats might have missed it, few Republicans missed the fact that they weren’t outed merely for being gay.
They were also outed for being Republican.
Thus, the outing generated sympathy in normally unsympathetic quarters.
If you are a Republican surrounded by Democrats, being in the closet is all too familiar, and seeing any Republican — even a gay one — being outed is excruciatingly painful.
Why, it’s almost as if you could be next!
UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post.
Welcome all, and Happy Halloween!