Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the Algemeiner, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Independent Journal Review, American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, Jewish Press, J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and many others.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Psychology Today on Cinnamon Stillwell and The "9/11 Effect"

Several months ago, I took part in an interview with the magazine Psychology Today for an article on political transformation, particularly in the post-9/11 landscape. My inclusion was based on an article I'd written on the subject, "The Making of a 9/11 Republican" as well as the online discussion group I started for fellow former lefties, the 9/11 Neocons.

The Psychology Today article, titled "The Ideological Animal," is now published in the January/February 2007 issue. With the exception of the inaccurate term "pro-war rallies" to describe my experiences as a counter-protester at leftist rallies, I felt that I was treated quite fairly. As for the author's take on right vs. left traits and what makes one become a conservative, I'm not entirely sure he captured the phenomenon nor approached the subject with complete objectivity. But I'll let readers decide.

The first few paragraphs of the article (which features most of my story) can be read here, but online subscription or magazine purchase is required to read the entire article. For those who wish to do neither, I'm excerpting the relevant paragraphs below:

The Ideological Animal

We think our political stance is the product of reason, but we're easily manipulated and surprisingly malleable. Our essential political self is more a stew of childhood temperament, education, and fear of death. Call it the 9/11 effect.

By Jay Dixit

Cinnamon Stillwell never thought she'd be the founder of a political organization. She certainly never expected to start a group for conservatives, most of whom became conservatives on the same day—September 11, 2001. She organized the group, the 911 Neocons, as a haven for people like her — "former lefties" who did political 180s after 9/11.

Stillwell, now a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, had been a liberal her whole life, writing off all Republicans as "ignorant, intolerant yahoos." Yet on 9/11, everything changed for her, as it did for so many. In the days after the attacks, the world seemed "topsy-turvy." On the political left, she wrote, "There was little sympathy for the victims," and it seemed to her that progressives were "consumed with hatred for this country" and had "extended their misguided sympathies to tyrants and terrorists."

Disgusted, she looked elsewhere. She found solace among conservative talk-show hosts and columnists. At first, she felt resonance with the right about the war on terror. But soon she found herself concurring about "smaller government, traditional societal structures, respect and reverence for life, the importance of family, personal responsibility, national unity over identity politics." She embraced gun rights for the first time, drawn to "the idea of self-preservation in perilous times." Her marriage broke up due in part to political differences. In the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, she began going to pro-war rallies.

In 2005, she wrote a column called "The Making of a 9/11 Republican." Over the year that followed, she received thousands of e-mails from people who'd had similar experiences. There were so many of them that she decided to form a group. And so the 9/11 Neocons were born.

Anyone interested in reading more about my political transformation and the 9/11 Neocons, as well as its precursor group, the Liberal Hawks, can do so here.

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.


Blogger LewWaters said...

I can't say I care for the "pro-war" moniker they give us. Like wise, I have a hard time accepting them being "anti-war," given the selective opposition they display.

I know refer to them as "anti-liberty" and those os us who support it as "pro-liberty."

That being said, now I'll go read the article, ;)

Thursday, January 04, 2007 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

Cinnamon comes off fine but it reeks of liberal condescention.

The "study's" authors just wanted to reinforce their belief that conservatives are not up to snuff as far as leftwing "standards" go. Moral equivalence. No tolerance for ambiguity.

"Bush in appearing more rigid in his thinking and intolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity, and Kerry in appearing more open to ambiguity and to considering alternative positions."

Wonder who they voted for?

I love the way they arrive at the conclusion that if you are concerned about rabid, headchopping Islamist fascists, or what they call "thoughts of death," you are "irrational."

Friday, January 05, 2007 2:28:00 PM  

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