This restores my faith in liberals, at least for the moment. We went to a Christmas party two years ago given by a psychiatrist friend, which included a cookie swap and caroling, so it should have been right up our alley. The group was heavy with both mental health providers and UU's, and we had not been in the house more than a few minutes before the hostess was loudly complaining that Trump was in danger of starting a land war in Asia because he had just called the new president (prime minister?) of Taiwan to congratulate him on his victory. In the midst of the caroling one woman started to describe to us a story she was writing about the Wise Men coming to Trump and telling him to care about the poor or something. Fortunately, the Director of Behavioral Health for the state quietly but authoritatively reminded everyone that we were singing carols at the moment.
Very typical liberal signalling, I thought. Irritating but not huge. And I do love caroling. Yet we didn't go last year or this year.
Last night's party was also thrown by a psychiatrist friend. I was apprehensive there might be something similar, because this would likely be even more thoroughly peopled by mental health providers. I don't know about UU's. Probably few or none. I also knew the host was very liberal, and the social workers who were coming were all well-known to me, with a few who had made the occasional...hmm, well, no need to describe the comments, really. They varied in tone and intensity over the years.
I was practicing in my headignoring or deflecting signalling comments. Which is what I usually do*, but sometimes I take the bait and give a little pushback. I try to blink in surprise. I needn't have bothered. All conversation was wonderful, a little rowdy. The only thing remotely close to a political comment was a reference to "fake news," but it was merely riffing off that phrase as a common cultural concept, with no clear target.
One clear difference was the greater presence of unit and support staff - mental health workers, housekeepers, utilisation review, and most especially psych nurses. Psych nurses in clusters are rather a force of nature, as their candor talking about (ahem) indelicate things with each other pretty much drives out other conversations. If they are political, it tends to be liberal, but not universally so, and they tend even more to be apolitical. Also, they are largely draw from the aspirational classes rather than the hereditary elites, and their spouses are as well. Exceptions abound, but those are the trends.