The conservative underground

Do you remember how, before the election, I blogged about the fact that I had a very rare sighting in Marin:  a car with a conservative bumper sticker?  My post was short, so I’ll reprint it here:

I saw something rare today:  a car that not only had a discrete McCain/Palin bumpersticker, but that also had a big bumper sticker saying “Freedom vs. Socialism – November 4, 2008.

As I was standing there admiring this sight, the car’s owner hove into view.  I stopped her politely and said, “I have to tell you, I really love your bumper sticker.”

She smiled at me and, in a thick Russian accent, replied, “I don’t hear that often.”

I bet she doesn’t, but her accent explains precisely why the charge that Obama is a socialist resonates so strongly with her.  She knows socialism up close and personal, and she knows that a move in that direction is a simultaneous move away from a free society.

Today, I’m in the aisle at the local craft store (not a place I frequent but, sometimes, as a mother you just have to go there), when the beautiful blonde woman next to me turns and says, in a thick Russian accent, “Don’t you have children at X school?”  Well, I don’t anymore, but I did, and we realized that we’d met before.  I also realized that she was the driver of the car with the bumper sticker.  So, after we chatted a moment, I said, “I was the one at the parking lot who complimented your bumper sticker.”

You could have knocked her over with a feather.  “I didn’t know there was another conservative at X school,” she said.  I told her it’s not much better at my kids’ current schools.  We commiserated for a few minutes about the loneliness of being a conservative in Marin, and I mentioned to her the parties my friend throws for those of us who need a quiet place to talk about politics without rancor.  The Russian gal was excited.  She says her friends know she’s a conservative (how could they not, with her bumper sticker?), but there’s a tacit agreement that political talk is off limits.

As she and I were talking, I noticed a woman in the same aisle glancing at us repeatedly.  When she opened her mouth, I steeled myself for the inevitable attack.  Instead, she said, “You know, I’m a conservative too.  I just want you to know that there are more of us out here in Marin.”  She too agreed, though, that it’s better to keep silent.

A little more chit-chat and she remarked, “who would have guessed that there would be three conservatives in one aisle in the craft store.”  At which point a fourth woman who had wandered down the aisle held up her hand with four fingers, “Four,” she said.  “There are four conservatives in the aisle at the craft store.”  She too agreed that it’s not something you want to talk about.

It was a giddy moment for all four of us, and we left the store feeling less alone.

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  • Gringo

    I was going to suggest that if more spoke out, that more would be willing to stand up to the Liberal dominance in Marin. On the other hand, I speak little of politics with my yellow-dog Democrat sister-in-law, as I have previously pointed out, for a number of reasons, not responding to her comments on politics. You have to pick your own battles.

  • ericthered

    I know several of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants and they are so anti-leftist. Most of them are Jews. They keep telling me, “I don’t understand why so many Jews are Democrats!”

    Immigrants from the former Soviet republics and Cuba get it. Point of note: You’ll never a MSM piece that’s complimentary of anti-Castro Cuban immigrants. Look at the Elian Gonzales fiasco back in 2000.
    The Jewish Republican’s Web Sanctuary

  • Ymarsakar

    Wonderful story, Book. You told it just right.

    You have to pick your own battles.

    The proper intel on enemy houses will allow you to pick the right ones to storm or infiltrate. In fighting an insurgency or being the insurgency, information is king.

  • 1Lulu

    Send this story to your local paper (the one that wrote about Conservatives in Marin). I’d love to see the responses. at the least, it might make some of your neighbors think twice before they speak offensively. Maybe it’s time you all banded together and even spoke up a bit? I can just imagine a Conservative being elected in Marin to everyone’s shock- how is it possible? Til you all discover that there are as many crypto-conservatives as lefties, you were all just afraid to speak up.

  • Ymarsakar

    Charles Martel will lead this Army of Crypto-Conservative women to conquest and victory, as once Martel turned back the Islamic hordes, so sayeth I.

  • Scott in SF

    As I like to say, “15% of San Franciscans Can’t be wrong!”

    That’s the percentage of us that voted for George W. Bush.

    The funny thing is that I teach a tiny little class at a small liberal college and for some reason the conservatives figure me out, pull me aside, and tell me that they are in the closet too (usually with charm and wit). While the liberals just go on assuming that I’m with them.

    How do we spot each other? Are there secret uses of language? Unconscious ironic rolls of eyes perhaps?

  • Charles Martel


    One giveaway is that conservatives usually will say, “I think,” whereas leftists will say, “I feel.”

    Another giveaway is when somebody cites an information source that is not NPR, PBS, the NYT or CNN. It’s possible that you have occasionally slipped and mentioned something like the New Criterion, or The Weekly Standard or National Review, names that would go over leftist heads but would alert your conservative students.

    Or it may be that you dress like an adult.


    Closet conservatives in a craft store – who would have thunk it!

    This is like round 2 of playing Jewish Geography.

  • Al

    Speak softly, and carry an intelligent stick.

  • Ymarsakar

    There is a New EngSoc for the politically sensitive amongst America. Adherence to the code will produce group think cohesion, while neglecting the code will either warn the opponents of New EngSoc or it will be ignored by the more brain dull of the proletariat.

  • Mike Devx

    Scott #6
    >> How do we spot each other? Are there secret uses of language? Unconscious ironic rolls of eyes perhaps? >>

    It’s the straightened spine, the walking tall. It’s that glint in the eye that says you are not a victim and are not seeking victimhood. It’s the calmness in the face of provocation… a desire NOT to riot. It’s the calm, reasoned response to a political or societal question when emotion – my FEELINGS, my FEELINGS!!! – is possible but unnecessary and unhelpful.

    Then again, perhaps you subconsciously twitch every time you hear any of the words, “Obama”, “bailout”, “reparations”, or the way you subtly extend your middle finger at your side when NPR is mentioned, thinking no one sees you do it…

  • suek

    Just a thought, but I wonder if your odds are better in a craft shop. Do libs _do_ crafts?

  • Michael in SF

    Hey Book,

    Your post brought this to mind:

    “When robbery is done in open daylight by sanction of the law, as it is done today, then any act of honor or restitution has to be hidden underground.” — Ragnar Danneskjold, from Atlas Shrugged

    As for how we spot each other, I just look for people who are happy, courteous, and look like they have a soul (cf. Alan Colmes, Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, or Skeletor).

  • RadiantRecluse

    Both my husband and I are the black sheep of our liberal/leftist families, with our distinct conservative/libertarian leanings. We have kept the peace for decades by not responding to their insults and hysteria over our life choices. With their ecstatic reactions to the election of Obama, though, and to preserve our sanity, we’ve finally had to step away and leave them to their own devices. We’ve never felt so relieved and relaxed. What my husband and I have asked ourselves since is, why did it take us so long?

    Perhaps it is the sense of freedom and joy we feel that has recently attracted like-minded souls to us, and us to them. The difference in discourse from what we are accustomed to is stunning.

  • Ymarsakar

    A lot of people who associate with conservatives don’t do so because they actually believe in many of the things that conservatives do. It is because conservatives are just better company, and that makes quite a bit of difference.

    While you will always have rude people around, there is a difference in making it an exception, as for conservatives, and making it a social standard of behavior, as in the progressives and regressives.

  • BombthePeasants

    I would say, by looking at this website: that the 4 of you represented about 85% of Marin county’s conservatives…eek! Barricade the door, get out the ammo cans, and cook 3 chickens in the fireplace! make it 4!

  • Deana

    Radiant Recluse –

    I love your name! Welcome!


  • RadiantRecluse

    Thank you for the warm welcome, Deana!

  • March Hare

    There’s a few more of us on the other side of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, BW. You should come join us!

    That said, I am always amazed by the presumption of liberals in the Bay Area that everyone thinks as they do. I have had several colleagues and acquaintances tell me, “But you CAN’T be a conservative!” Why? Because I don’t fit their profile of who a conservative SHOULD be. :)

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