I received a phone call on my radio show from a man who said, “Dennis, I’m a gay conservative actor in Hollywood, and it is far easier to come out of the closet as gay than as a conservative.”
That call was in the 1980s.
While the current cancel culture — the firing, humiliation, disparagement and smearing — of conservatives is exponentially worse today than 30 years ago, it is not new.
As a result, the great majority of Americans who are conservative — that is, about half the country — hide their true beliefs. They fear saying anything that differs with the Left. This would include such reprehensible sentiments as:
- With all its flaws, America is the finest country ever made.
- Men do not give birth.
- There are only two sexes.
- A person’s color is the least important thing about them.
- The greatest problem in black life is not whites but a lack of fathers.
- A man who becomes a woman and then competes in women’s sports is cheating.
- Posting to social media a video by a renowned epidemiologist, virologist or medical doctor who asserts that ivermectin and/or hydroxychloroquine with zinc, when used early enough, almost always prevents hospitalization for COVID-19.
The list is far longer than this. But if you think even this list overstates the problem, put any of these statements on any mainstream social media platform and see what happens. See if any relatives drop you from Facebook or even from their lives. See what your employer says or does. See what Twitter or Facebook does to your account.
There are valid reasons to fear publicly differing with the Left.
So, then, what arguments can be offered on behalf of coming out of the closet?
The first is this: For every person you alienate, you will likely bring at least one new, wonderful person into your life.
Putting aside issues of courage, of standing for what is right, of saving America from those working to destroy it, there is a great selfish reason to come out of the closet: kindred spirits, i.e., good people, will discover you.
In 2020, I received an email from a young woman in her second year at Harvard who told me that my book that explains the Left and America, “Still the Best Hope,” had changed her from liberal to conservative. Needless to say, I was intrigued to learn more about her and, as it happened, she lives — as I do — in Los Angeles. So, I invited her to sit in on my radio show.
While speaking to her during commercial breaks, I was impressed enough to ask if she would be willing to describe her political and moral metamorphosis on the radio. I warned her that appearing on “The Dennis Prager Show” and talking about her conservative views would likely lead to some lost friends, angry, if not alienated, relatives, and attacks back at Harvard. I made that case persuasively enough to give her pause and ask, “May I call my mother?”
She stepped out to make the call. When she returned to the studio, she announced, “I’m coming on.”
About half a year later, she made another appearance on my show, and I asked her what happened after her initial appearance.
“I went through two weeks of hell,” she responded.
As predicted, she lost friends she had had since elementary school, some relatives limited their contact with her, and some students back at Harvard regarded her as an indecipherable sellout.
“Then what happened?” I asked.
“Then I entered heaven,” she responded.
She offered two big reasons.
One was that she began to sleep better than she had in years. The other was the number of kindred spirits, all quality people, who reached out to her, some of whom became friends.
Regarding reason one — sleeping better — staying in the closet exacts a serious mental price on a person. One should not think only coming out of the closet exacts a price.
As for the second reason, virtually no price paid for coming out of the closet is comparable to the rewards of doing so. There is little as happiness-inducing as having kindred spirits in your life.
Now, is that worth losing one’s job? If you are sure you will lose your job and no other job paying a comparable salary will be available, only you can answer that question. Similarly, if one of your children will stop talking to you because you are not “woke,” it is not for me to advise you what to do. But there are no other compelling arguments not to come out of the closet.
And there are at least two other arguments for coming out.
One is that you will respect yourself more. And so will others — including, quite possibly, one or more of your children (and your grandchildren, if you have any).
And two: You will help save this country from tyranny. For some, that should suffice.