Are you as fascinated and horrified as I am by the Twitter firestorm that erupted after actress Stacey Dash announced that she is voting for Mitt Romney?

If you read the Twitter responses to Ms. Dash’s original Twitter, you might think that Ms. Dash, who is black, has no right to make up her own mind. 

Here is what one charmer wrote:

This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u

Here are a few more bon mots:

She’s an indoor slave. You know that, sis.

You ready to head back to the fields, jiggaboo?

So Stacey Dash buck tooth ass really voting for Romney!!

The extreme vulgarity used to denigrate a human being is quite shocking, isn’t it? Also shocking is the sentiment behind this hate speech: that African Americans belong to the Democratic Party and must be punished if they don't realize this. 

Ms. Dash wasn't the only recent high-profile defector. Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, which gave rise to a fine movie and one of the best TV series I’ve ever followed, also made the surprise announcement that he will be voting for Romney.

Bissinger is a card-carrying member of the cultural elite. He realizes that publicly supporting Romney could have serious ramifications:

The tipping point toward a candidate is perhaps the greatest act of individuality in our unique democracy, although in this day and age of unprecedented political divide, telling somebody who you are voting for has no upside: There is no respect for your right as a citizen, but outright hatred from those who do not agree with you. I fear that I will lose friends, some of whom I hold inside my heart. Of course, I will also lose friends I really don’t like anyway.

Conservatives may get grumpy when old friends and allies seem to desert the cause (ask David Brooks and Peggy Noonan about 2008). But they do not go into a frenzy of invective. It is the left that that displays the killer instinct when somebody dares to deviate. 

Dash and Bissinger have broken from the herd that must never be challenged. We see the results of living in a world that brooks no heresy in the ugly response to Dash’s announcement. And Bissinger undoubtedly will lose friends. But I think we also saw the results of the left's refusal to be challenged in President Obama’s hopeless performance in the first presidential debate. When the jeering and ridicule he employs on the stump are out of place, he simply has no rejoinder.

It does strike me that it is unfair that (so far) the response to Ms. Dash has been particularly ugly by virtue of her being an African American. 

But she is not backing down, and we applaud her as a courageous woman.