An article in the New York Post by Chadwick Moore, a self-described gay man, is an excellent window into the poisoned political atmosphere resulting from (and perhaps contributing to) the election of Donald Trump (“I’m a gay New Yorker — and I’m coming out as a conservative“). The very many Trump supporters who have found that longtime friends, lovers, and family will no longer speak to them — apart from invidious name-calling — will perhaps find a bit of solace in his experience.
Moore made the tragic mistake of writing a neutral article about Milo Yiannopoulis in Out, a liberal magazine catering to gays.
After the story posted online in the early hours of October 21, I woke up to more than 100 Twitter notifications on my iPhone. Trolls were calling me a Nazi, death threats rolled in and a joke photo that I posed for in a burka served as “proof” that I am an Islamophobe.
Most disconcertingly, it wasn’t just strangers voicing radical discontent. Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” A dozen or so people unfriended me. A petition was circulated online, condemning the magazine and my article. All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.
I hope New Yorkers can be as accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation.
I lay low for a week or so. Finally, I decided to go out to my local gay bar in Williamsburg, where I’ve been a regular for 11 years. I ordered a drink but nothing felt the same; half the place — people with whom I’d shared many laughs — seemed to be giving me the cold shoulder. Upon seeing me, a friend who normally greets me with a hug and kiss pivoted and turned away.
Frostiness spread far beyond the bar, too. My best friend, with whom I typically hung out multiple times per week, was suddenly perpetually unavailable. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he sent me a long text, calling me a monster, asking where my heart and soul went, and saying that all our other friends are laughing at me.
I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited. …
I began to realize that maybe my opinions just didn’t fit in with the liberal status quo, which seems to mean that you must absolutely hate Trump, his supporters and everything they believe. If you dare not to protest or boycott Trump, you are a traitor.
If you dare to question liberal stances or make an effort toward understanding why conservatives think the way they do, you are a traitor.
Note particularly the last comment: “If you dare to question liberal stances or make an effort toward understanding why conservatives think the way they do, you are a traitor.” Being a Trump supporter is not simply misguided. Such a person is malevolent. Such a person is consumed by hatred, anger and fear towards gays, women, non-Whites, and every group in the victim class pantheon. Even trying to understand such a person is itself evil.
And that’s the problem. Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There’s no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society —“a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions” — or sucker-punched by antifas, an action that is much approved on the left. By vilifying us as moral cretins, people automatically close off the possibility of even trying to see the world as we see it. After all, if a person is morally culpable, there is the implication that that person is blameworthy. Excuses like having different, sincerely held beliefs, no matter how well-founded, don’t have to be considered. Immorality implies malicious intentions.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, coming out to my family at the age of 15 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Today, it’s just as nerve-wracking coming out to all of New York as a conservative. But, like when I was 15, it’s also weirdly exciting.
I’ve already told my family, and it’s brought me closer to my father. He’s a Republican and a farmer in Iowa, and for years we just didn’t have very much to talk about. But after Trump’s inauguration, we chatted for two hours, bonding over the ridiculousness of lefties. But we also got serious: He told me that he is proud of my writing, and I opened up about my personal life in a way I never had before to him.
I’ve made some new friends and also lost some who refuse to speak to me. I’ve come around on Republican pundit Ann Coulter, who I now think is smart and funny and not a totally hateful, self-righteous bigot. A year ago, this would have been unfathomable to me. …
And I hope that New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation.
Good luck with that!