Here we have an interesting 'coming out' tale from a young man whose liberal family was "overjoyed" when he told them he is gay. The real trouble began, you see, when he started having impure thoughts. Political thoughts. Adam Levine is the son of a former Democratic Congressman from southern California. And now he's telling the world about how he came to realize that he's a conservative, and how his vote for Donald Trump has made him a pariah within the "open minded" circles in which he's operated for most of his life. Before I start quoting his piece, allow me to disclose that a mutual friend put us in touch, and I helped connect him with the editors of The Federalist, where this essay appears. And it begins rather provocatively:
I am not a sex offender. But a number of my friends no longer have time to see me. Lifelong acquaintances now regard me with fear and distrust. I have been unfriended en masse on social media and excoriated by friends who deign to remain. And I have been singly excluded from social gatherings when the rest of my family was invited. No, I am not a sex offender. I am something even worse than that. I am a Donald Trump supporter.
He goes on to describe his exquisitely liberal upbringing, which inculcated him with strong and harsh views of the types of people who are Republicans:
It was always a given that Republicans are bad people, representative of that shameful sliver of our flawed society that values money above the planet and think the world would be better off if everyone were a straight, white male. At a minimum they are racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Left to their own devices, they would exclude ethnic minorities from everything, kick sinful gay offspring onto the streets, and pave our parks over with oil derricks. Of course, there are the less malicious Republicans, the ones who have fallen victim to their gun-toting, Bible-thumping families and sadly do not know any better than what they have been told. This type is not entirely to blame for their ignorance; they just deserve our pity.
But at some point, he began to recognize some strange...feelings and desires boiling inside of him that were scary and unnatural -- a growing realization that dared not speak its name:
These were not pie-in-the-sky views I was advocating in order to provoke. The Affordable Care Act has made medical treatment of my bipolar disorder more expensive than ever. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran flagrantly continues to enrich uranium and fund terrorist activities. As a small business owner, I am regularly assaulted with financially crushing, nonsensical red tape and bureaucracy, much implemented as lip service to environmental protection. With few exceptions, every one of my good friends feels more economically hopeless after the “recovery” than before, and abject homelessness on the streets of my beloved city has swelled to egregious levels. In desperation, like a closeted teenager sneaking into a porn theater, I surreptitiously began to explore the forbidden territories of Fox News and other conservative outlets. Incredibly, I found myself agreeing more often than not...I did everything in my power to avoid that one last unspeakable, fatal option: turning Republican.
Alas, denial can only last so long. Sooner or later, unsupressable instinct comes bursting forth. And so it did for Levine, who soon found himself under siege and bombarded with opporbrium from some of his closest friends and family members. He writes about being upbraided for opposing his father's position on the Iranian nuclear deal, and being cut off by lifelong friends. One called him a "white supremacist" (an odd one, given the context, but not unprecedented); others stopped returning his calls. But the decision to speak and live His Truth had been made:
I reached my threshold where no amount of hypothetical Republican bigotry or greed could approach the magnitude of hypocrisy, corruption, or criminality I saw rotting the Democrats to the core. I jumped ship...I found out almost immediately that the Republican Party is not only not evil, but populated with nice, intelligent, humble people...It took 36 years for me to see through the Democratic mystique of what the Republican Party is. Having done so has enabled me to affirm a deep part of who I am, which runs deeper than religion or sexual orientation, because it is part of what forms me. Sadly, it was a part that I should not ever have had to question in the first place. If the struggles of the LGBT and Jewish peoples have taught me one thing, it is that I count, I matter, no more or less than any other man—precisely not because of my sexual preferences, or the God I worship, but because I am a citizen of planet Earth. The knowledge there is a major political party that extends this creed to its members has restored a deep-seated hope inside of me for my country’s future.
Read the whole thing here. Levine's story resonates with me on several levels, even though our stories are not the same, nor our worldviews identical. One of the most exhausting things about being a right-leaning member of an minority identity community over which the Left thinks it wields intellectual ownership is frequently being challenged to justify one's own existence. Nevertheless, Levine has done so here, and done so well, in a very public forum. Surprise: It turns out he's allowed to prioritize his political concerns however he'd like, as any free-thinking citizen should. And, frankly, some of the barriers to entry to conservatism for many LGBT Americans may be collapsing. I'll leave you with this pearl of wisdom from End of Discussion, generously tweeted out by the Young Republicans this week:
Democrats ultimately failed to convince Adam Levine, and his choice to shut up about why has officially expired.