Most Americans realize cancel culture is a massive threat to our democracy, but I fear it may be too late to halt it
Recent polls suggest a majority of Americans are wise to exactly how damaging cancel culture is. The big concern is that it's become so entrenched and all-pervasive that we can never defeat it or repair the damage it’s done.
In the past year that I have been writing for RT, it seems to me that the vast majority of articles that I have penned have been in regards to cancel culture. Specifically about the effects that it has on our society at large. With every new article, it seems to me that it's getting worse. Whether it's Gina Carano getting fired for being too conservative, or Dr. Seuss posthumously getting canceled, every single week someone else seems to be on the chopping block. All for imagined crimes that really only range from existing in a different time period or just having a different opinion.
Don't get me wrong. When I see a poll that tells me over 60% of Americans see that there’s a problem here, I'm glad. After all, the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have it in the first place. The issue that I have is that, as a society, I fear that we're not addressing it quick enough. Beyond that, it seems that for some people there are caveats when it comes to this. It was nice for Bill Maher to acknowledge that he's on the political side that does it the most, but he prefaced it by taking a shot at Republicans. He even acted as if it's something that some Republicans deserve. It's that snide attitude that sums up my fears completely.
I find myself in a constant state of worry because the larger issue that faces us is that we cannot accept that this is a problem that goes deeper than political parties. The people who discuss this don't seem to realize that we live in a culture that has forgotten what the word “forgiveness” means. All offenses are ones that should end your career all of a sudden? If every offense or mistake is that bad, then we are going to force ourselves to live in a world where you have to be absolutely sinless from the day you are born. Last I checked, the only person who was able to do that was the son of God.
Beyond that, it distorts our ability to really tell who the bad guys are. We used to be able to agree on these things. Because we had concrete ideas of what a white supremacist was, what a terrorist was, and what a criminal was, we could easily identify and avoid the people that are genuinely morally despicable. Now, a milquetoast Republican like Brett Kavanaugh is treated with the same ire as Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor or David Duke. Now people who set fire to half the country are supposed to be treated as some sort of heroes. It's so perverse that DC comics has retconned one of its most beloved characters in Static Shock to have it take part in BLM activities.
In a sense, the rampant politicization that is part of cancel culture attempts to turn up to down and black to white. If you refuse to adhere to what they want, you must be destroyed.
Do I think that this can be defeated? Absolutely. Do I think it will be? I don’t know. The formula for doing so is going to be painful because we have taken so long to confront it.
It always is going to have to start with standing up for what's right. Because we're at the point we are at, there are going to be people who stand up to it who are then canceled as well. For the very act of defying it. There will be more books and movies banned, and our only hope is that independent companies rise up to fill the void left by all these cancellations.
One way that this could all stop is if major corporations themselves put their foot down. And that's only going to come if the people at the top have some sort of epiphany, or they lose enough money, to realize that what they are doing, what they’re supporting, is wrong.Also on rt.com Cancel culture refuses to stop coming after Woody Allen, despite having no new ammunition
On a personal level, each human being is going to have to start looking at the world differently. We have to go back to the foundations that brought us together to become such great societies in the first place. The biggest part of that is rejecting the idea that we should constantly be hunting for the differences between us as an excuse to separate ourselves from one another.
Rather, we need to realize that we are all human. Because we share a common humanity, we should be able to get over the small differences that exist between us. We should be able to take ten seconds to understand the concerns that people have, rather than just throwing them under the proverbial bus so that we don't have to address something that might be uncomfortable.
The most unfortunate thing about all of this is that we are going to see quite a few more people getting hurt between now and the point that we turn the proverbial ship around – if we ever can. What I hope and pray for is that we as a society can understand what brought us here and how we can prevent it from ever happening again. If we don't, we doom ourselves to a cycle of cancellation and rebuilding. All that cycle is going to do is cause more people to shut themselves down, retreat into themselves, and never make the decisions that will stop it.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.