This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) theme was “America Uncanceled” reflecting its obsessive use of the term “cancel culture.”
Conservative media like Fox News use “cancel culture” as an attack on progressives by accusing them of silencing and banishing anyone with whom they disagree to a sort of politically correct Hell. Most common in social media, outraged users stop supporting someone or a brand because they did something offensive and encourage others to do the same.
One can only imagine the intense and irate outrage on the political Right after its former president Donald Trump had his Twitter and Facebook accounts terminated after his reported 30,000 lies and his instigation of a violent insurrection at the Capitol. Other rioters and the groups they represented likewise found their social media accounts canceled.
Unfortunately, they fail to perceive the irony and sheer hypocrisy of arguing that Democrats invented “cancel culture,” while in reality, the Right perpetuates this political tactic to its radical extreme.
If we investigate a mere brief timeframe, we find limitless examples. Here are only a few:
- The Right, and Trump in particular, attempted to cancel Barack Obama’s identity by leading its “birther” movement attacks.
- Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), stated his “number one priority” was to make Barack Obama “a one-term President,” and with nearly one year remaining in Obama’s second term, canceled the President’s ability to follow his constitutional duty of filling a Supreme Court vacancy.
- Congressional Republicans became connected at the mid-section with Trump thereby canceling the “separation of powers” doctrine of the Constitution.
- They canceled an important process in any democracy by refusing to engage in bipartisan negotiations and compromise.
- Trump canceled U.S. involvement in the Paris Climate Accords and attempted to cancel the NATO alliance and all previous alliances between the United States and other nations across the globe.
- Trump canceled military and strategic support for the Kurds leading to their slaughter by the Turks.
- He sought and succeeded in canceling virtually every policy initiative enacted under the Obama Administration.
- Trump nearly succeeded in canceling LGBTQ rights, civil rights for communities of color, and religious rights for all but the few mainline Christian denominations he favored for political reasons.
- He fought vigorously to cancel the freedom of trans people to self-define and to be accorded equal access to public spaces granted to other people.
- He chipped his way toward canceling voting rights and the doctrine of “one person, one vote.”
- Trump canceled previous regulations on the production and use of fossil fuels, clearly imperiling our planet and the lives of every living species.
- With his extremism in COVID denial, he literally canceled the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who need not have died if he has been truthful at the beginning of the pandemic and had taken the necessary steps to fight and mitigate the virus.
- He and his minions canceled the notion, by extinguishing the once bright beacon of light signaling those persecuted and impoverished around the world, that the United States was a welcoming place for those “yearning to breathe free.”
- They have canceled factual historical realities, for example, that the South lost the Civil War and that there was nothing moral or ethical about its cause.
- Though the political Right gloats about its so-called “family values,” Trump canceled those values by forcefully separating children from their parents and placing them in tightly packed dank wire cages.
- Trump canceled the once honorable decision of choosing the best, most experienced, most committed, and most qualified personnel to fill government offices.
- He canceled his obligation to estimate truthfully and pay mandated taxes, and he willfully canceled all restrictions on “emoluments” by extorting U.S. government payments into his hotels and golf resorts.
- Trump canceled respect for the Capitol building, the “People’s House,” by promoting a failed election coup.
- The Right has attempted and failed in the courts over 60 times to cancel President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ election.
Conservative Republicans have canceled any notion that elected officials are to serve their constituents with truth and honor, that they are public servants who place the public over their own financial gains or considerations of ambition.
Basically, Republicans live in a culture canceling anyone and everyone who does not look like them, believe like them, think like them, walk like them, talk like them, love like them, present themselves like them, lie like them, invent and perpetuate conspiracy theories like them, and reject Constitutional tenets and restraints like them.
Yes, the Left has taken the notion of “political correctness” too far when we have silenced those who have not lived up to the high standards of progressivism many of us hold. Whom among us, though, have not perpetuated intolerance? Who among us can honestly say we do not have implicit biases ingrained by a socialization process of an oppressive society? But, in addition, who among us is not willing to look into ourselves, to open our minds, to evolve and grow to become the best persons that we can?
No matter how we answer these questions, nevertheless, we need not submit or cower to the political Right’s intimidation of some contrived “liberal Democrat socialist cancel culture.”
“Cancel culture” is a term the Right invented to organize its minions against progressive policies and actions. It is a term that is meant to provide justification for continuing its oppression and dominance against those of us and our movement(s) attempting to end the forms of oppression and provide more equality and equity.
In other words, “Cancel culture” is meant to give the Right justification in its continuing promotion of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, xenophobia, patriarchal Christian white supremacy, all forms of oppression. It is a term of intimidation and resistance to progressive social change.