Opinion: The right’s safe space from reality
So I go to my barber for a shave. While I’m waiting for her to finish the man ahead of me, this other guy and I get to talking about Donald Trump. He’s no more a fan of the boy president than I am, and pretty soon, we’ve got the whole shop laughing as we rip Trump’s idiocy.
My barber finishes her customer, and I take my seat in the chair. Whereupon she informs us that the guy who just left is a Trump voter. He asked her to wait until he was gone to announce it.
I’m sure you’re as deeply distressed as I was at the plight of that lonely Trumper — yes, he was black — listening in silence as his hero was eviscerated. How could he have known patrons in a black barbershop in an urban area would not like Trump? If only there were some way he could have spared himself that pain.
Well, now there is: 63red Safe, a new app from a guy named Scott Wallace, a self-described lifelong Republican from Oklahoma. It’s a sort of Yelp for conservatives, with crowd-sourced reviews telling them where they can safely dine, shop or get a haircut without being harassed or hearing the Dear Leader ridiculed.
Wallace got the idea one day when he thought about buying a hat, but didn’t. It was one of those spiffy red numbers, stitched in white with the words “Make America Great Again.” A number of Republican officials had been heckled for showing their faces in public, and as Wallace recently told The Washington Post, he wasn’t sure it was safe to openly declare himself a Trump supporter.
His app which, at this writing, has apparently crashed because of a traffic spike after being featured on The Daily Beast, Fox “News” and elsewhere, is part of a family of conservative-themed products, including a news aggregator and a message board. 63red Safe, which The Daily Beast calls a kind of “Green Book” for red-state voters, asks reviewers to rate businesses by answering a series of questions, including: “Does this business serve persons of every political belief?” and “Will this business protect its customers if they are attacked for political reasons?”
How is the average patron supposed to ascertain these things? That’s not clear.
How will 63red Safe foil mischievous liberals who sign up to create havoc? Also not clear.
Shockingly for a Trump voter, Wallace may not have thought this thing through. Nor is the ideological segregation he promotes anything new.
Years ago, someone marketed a conservative ice cream — because who knows what those hippies at Ben & Jerry’s are putting into the Chubby Hubby?
Then there’s Conservapedia, which counters the left-wing slant of Wikipedia by telling us, for instance, that Barack Obama was “reportedly” born in Hawaii.
Nor can we forget that attempt to translate a conservative Bible so that Christians would no longer have to put up with all that welcoming the stranger and helping the poor you find in the King James Version.
And some singles now seek soul mates on DonaldDaters.com, apparently having discovered that grabbing prospective partners by the pudenda actually doesn’t work as well as you’d think.
63red Safe, then, represents only the latest effort to create a safe space for conservatives who find themselves triggered by, well … reality and its liberal bias. Like its predecessors, it’s likely doomed to failure or irrelevance. But if conservatives really want to find a place of their own, a place where they will not have to hear people malign the Dear Leader on a daily basis, it’s theoretically possible, but it won’t be easy.
First step: Build a spaceship.
— Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald.