Can’t Even Talk About It Out Loud
I just wrote an email to someone:
Don’t know why I’m writing you. I’m guessing that you haven’t written back because you are working odd hours and, it would appear, trying to quit smoking, not because of my politics. Still, I’m feeling really funny. I just altered a post, not because I changed my mind, because if I write what I really believe I think I will have no friends. What does this mean? Am I a coward? Am I a hypocrite? Should I pretend to believe things I don’t, things I’ve read about, even obsessed about, so that I will still have friends?
Then I deleted the email.
I’m not having an emotional crisis. I’m not feeling suicidal or even depressed. I’m not even having an intellectual crisis because I, in fact, do know what I believe. I am feeling very alienated because I seem to be the only person on earth that believes this. I look around, and on the left opinion seems to be unanimous. I tried reading things on the right, and although they disagree with the left on this issue I disagree with them even more. And I’m writing vaguely because I’m even afraid to say what the subject is.
Some months ago, I was inclined to agree with the left. Then I read a few things and I began to have doubts. In the meantime, the subject picked up ground on the left and more people have become swept up with it. I read even more. I became more and more convinced that the left was wrong in a great many particulars. Positions have hardened. “You’re with us or against us.” I think it’s an extreme position, but the on the left it is mainstream. Any attempt at nuance is taken as being “against.”
I’m not neutral. It’s not like, say, FGM, which I think is a really bad idea and I’m incredibly glad that I have a clitoris, never experienced the pain of having it, or any other part of my vulva, cut and can still enjoy sex. However, when women from cultures in which they do that say they don’t want to be saved I think, “Cool. I didn’t really care that much.”
This, on the other hand, is something that cuts much closer to home, something about which I have very strong feelings and regarding which it is very hard to look away or bury my head in the sand. Yet, I can’t talk about it.
Are there any moderate liberals remaining out there, or has everyone become a radical?
I’m curious what could be so inflammatory that someone would stop reading. It’s hard to believe there are that many readers with dainty toes.
Whatever is was, I suspect that most people outside NY won’t be mortified. Please don’t hesitate on my account.
I am curious.
For the time I have known you, you have been the one person who so freely speak their mind. This would be a strange place for you.
Go ahead and tell us what it is that is bothering you. I want to hear it. I am listening