….At least not in what is termed 'polite society." I found this out the hard way.
I spent 33 years calling
Los Angeles home. Most of those years were spent blindly accepting the assumptions portrayed by the spare headline or sound bite on the nightly news: Christians are bad, government is good, and
America is the cause of all the world's woes.
Advocating the spending of tax dollars for any and all social problems was the mark of a good and moral person. Professing concern for those less well off was mandatory for financially successful people and it was de rigueur to have a least one 'best friend' of color. Wearing an AIDS awareness ribbon, at that time, signaled your inclusion in the community of man.
In return for inclusion in this community, members had a free pass to substitute intentions for actions. One was free to indulge in hedonistic behavior under the guise of empowerment. Discovering one's 'inner self' validated what used to be termed sexual promiscuity. Labels were confining so members had license to create their own. Who wouldn't prefer being labeled a free spirit instead of a selfish tramp? And in LA, labels, not substance, determined the social pecking order.
Any opinion at variance with the herd was considered judgmental, which was a definite no-no. Debate was redefined as argument, which was also a no-no. These rules were made clear to me only in the breach.
At age 39, six words spoken on TV changed my life forever. In 1992, I chanced to see
Perot on TV one night. He was holding up a toilet seat as he said, "The military paid $700.00 for this." OK. Then he said the words that would change my life forever. "And this is all public knowledge."
Public knowledge? Not where I lived. For some reason, this motivated me, for the first time in my life, to investigate and question all the 'public knowledge' I had absorbed over the years. The results shocked and angered me. The good news, however, was that my days as a 'useful idiot' came to a screeching halt.
Somehow, I found National Review, then Human Events, then the Washington Times. Their message was new to me. I was amazed that I had managed to live my whole without any glimmer that there was another, more valid, point of view out there. The conservative point of view.
I assumed that my friends, family and co-workers would be just as outraged as I to find they had only been exposed to one side of most issues. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was believing that facts counted.
I lost business and friends before I realized I had to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself. I remember having dinner one night with
Brenda in their beautiful Bel Air mansion. This couple had the best our country has to offer. I'll never forget
Brenda exclaiming over her shrimp cocktail, "
America? 150 years of slavery!" By challenging her, and others like her, I slowly lost my membership in the LA community of man.
After a few years, the only place I could be myself in public was while attending conservative functions held by the few conservative organizations that were based in
Meanwhile, my (one and only) husband of three years left me, due in large part to my inability to stifle my opinions. (He owed his living to the very liberal trial lawyers and his friends made clear to him my views were not welcome) I also found it increasingly hard to attend family functions, as the barely concealed tolerant patronizing of my out-of-bounds views started to grate.
The final straw was an ordinary news article. Our government schools, under the guise of 'safe sex' and 'tolerance' hosted a "Leather Fest" in
San Francisco. Attended by seventh graders, some of the exhibits actually taught these kids how to fist. I won't go into details, except to explain that it is a homosexual practice…having nothing to do with tolerance or safe sex. And my tax dollars were paying for it.
Enough. After 33 years, I decided to leave
Los Angeles. In 2002, I sold my business, my home, everything. I set off to find a place in the world where I could be myself without ticking everyone off. I found it in a small fishing village,
South Carolina. It was the best decision I ever made. The few times I've looked back, I feel only regret that I spent so many years of my life allowing others to define me.
Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in