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Recently I started a new job. I'm doing the actual work fairly well, but I think management is concerned that I'm not 'bonding' with the team. I don't fear for my job in the short term - they are also having some personnel issues at the moment. The problem is that awkward conversations frequently come up in the office when there's no work and people start talking. I'm in the American South, and frequent topics are guns, race relations (from a very conservative viewpoint), politics in general, et al. Rather than proffer my viewpoint, I simply clam up and let them continue. Personally, it seems I'm a 'social democrat' (thanks Wikipedia) with a decidedly liberal outlook so there's just a bit of difference in opinions. In one-on-one situations or very small groups, I can steer the conversation to other topics or say something non-committal but in a large group I just have to sit there looking stupid.
So am I being cowardly for not boldly stating my political position, or is this an exercise of right speech? I don't like confrontations and I also want to keep my job, but it feels wrong and awkward to just sit silent like a lump.