A Republican! At My Cocktail Party?
Are there any conservatives who haven’t been called a fascist, a racist, or worse by a near complete stranger at a cocktail party after revealing their party affiliation?
Harry Stein knows the feeling.
The author of How I Accidentally Joined the Right Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace) returns with I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican!, another adroitly titled tome.
The book recalls how Stein and many others on the Right routinely get called horrible things, or are simply marginalized, for sharing a political belief system that flies in the face of our PC world.
That treatment isn’t limited to stuffy parties or work happy hours. Nearly every field features liberals unwilling to consider “evil Republicans“ as peers. Conservative TV scribe Burt Prelutsky tells the author that liberals don't "have to listen or discuss. They’re the good guys, and there is no other side.”
I Can’t Believe begins with a great premise, but the first few pages offer a milquetoast refresher course on conservative principles. Where’s the focus, and the puckish sense of humor, promised by the book’s title?
But once Stein starts opening up about his own experiences and that of his right-leaning pals, the book starts to simmer.
I Can’t Believe will shock conservative parents whose children aren’t old enough to attend public school yet. Stein reveals some of the back-and-forth debates between right-minded parents and various school officials over ideologically driven instruction. The lesson? School administrators won’t leave their ideological perches, but it’s a parent's duty to fight back if only to prevent the problem from worsening.
Conservative professionals not named Limbaugh or Hannity risk plenty by speaking plainly about their political ideas, according to Stein. Right-leaning psychiatrists get ostracized by their fellow doctors. Professors seeking the fast -- or even turtle-like -- track to tenure better plot out a Plan B.
Simply put, outing oneself as someone who voted for President Ronald Reagan or -- gasp -- George W. Bush invites a risk that many prefer not to embrace.
The same holds true in Hollywood, and Stein shares a few horror stories from artists who decided either to keep mum about their right-leaning politics or got burned when their colleagues learned too much about their political preferences.
But what about actors like Bruce Willis, Jon Voight, or director David Zucker of Airplane! fame? Everyone who comes out of the ideological closet does so after making their hay in the business, Stein says.