'I'm conservative too, but don't let anyone know.'

Bookworm, the Marin County mom who lives a secret life as a conservative blogger in one of the bluest spots in America, wrote about her plight in a 2005 article, Confession of a Crypto-conservative Woman. On her own website Bookworm Worm, she features a piece about the lengths to which conservatives in strong blue areas feel intimidated about expressing their political views. The intolerant left is becoming more obnoxious in its demonization of those who dissent from their orthodoxy.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is no longer with us, so it seems fitting to highlight the velvet gulag inhabited by conservatives in Hollywood, Marin, and my own Berkeley. Don't feel sorry for any of us: we are quite comfortable, thank-you. But we also live with the fear of being denounced, shunned, and abused by those with whom we must associate as neighbors, colleagues, and even just strangers in a restaurant overhearing a conversation.

Understand that the left is revealing its hand as people who do not tolerate those who disagree.

A sample from Bookworm's new essay:

During the 2004 elections, people who were unaware of my political inclinations announced in front of me that "Bush is the worst President ever," "Republicans are stupid," "Republicans are evil," "Bush is stupid," "Republicans are corrupt," "Republicans are fascists" and "Bush should be impeached."  Children ran up to me on the sidewalk chanting "Bush is evil, Bush is evil"  - so you know what their parents were saying at the dinner table.  In this election cycle, one of my children announced after school that she was voting for Barack Obama "since every one is because he's black."  I quickly scotched that line of reasoning.

I know I should be speaking out when I hear statements such as these, but the sad fact is that I like these people.  Barring their monomaniacal animosity towards Bush and the Republicans, they're otherwise very nice:  they're hard workers, loving parents, good neighbors and helpful and reliable friends.  Being the social creature that I am, I don't want with one word ("Republican") to turn these friendships upside down and inside out.  (I'm not the only one with this problem.)  I don't want to be on the receiving end of some hideous Jekyll to Hyde transformation, so I just keep my mouth shut.

Those people I know who have spoken aloud their new conservative political views have been horrified by the animosity turned against them by formerly friendly neighbors and colleagues.  My in-laws who are, like me, 9/11 neocons (down in Los Angeles) have stared open-mouthed at colleagues who use staff meetings to revile Bush and the Republicans - all to the cheers and huzzahs of the other staff members.  (Indeed, what they describe sounds remarkably like Orwell's Two Minutes Hate.)  On the occasions when they've suggested that maybe, just maybe, Bush isn't the Antichrist, they've found themselves shunned by these same colleagues.

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