You have the sensation that people across the country are hiding what they really think for fear of repercussions—retribution that will destroy their lives and livelihood.
And they're not being stupid. It could—and has.
If Nathaniel Hawthorne were alive today, he could write a new masterpiece with faux racism as the offense warranting the scarlet letter, but no one would publish it, certainly not one of our mainstream publishers who would rather flunk their Wasserman tests.
Is this the way to run a democracy?
Of course not, but that's where we are in America 2020, when putative "autonomous zones" are being set up across the land by groups espousing the overthrow of the U.S. government, violently or otherwise, under the guise of a brainless anarchism that Peter Kropotkin would never recognize.