The Transylvania Times -

Two Sides Of Cancel Culture


Last updated 2/1/2021 at 3:06pm

At last Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, during public comment one proponent of the resolution to declare Transylvania County a “Constitutional Rights Protected County” claimed opposition to the resolution was a manifestation of “cancel culture.” One commissioner said the Constitution and Bill of Rights are “under constant assault by the hate America left in our country.”

Both of these comments themselves are examples of cancel culture, attempting to paint anyone who opposed the resolution as un-American when, in effect, opponents noted that commissioners already had taken an oath to defend the Constitution and their time would be better spent addressing county issues instead of political posturing.

The term “hate America left” is particularly egregious because it connotes that if people do not believe as so-called conservatives do and are “progressive,” they “hate America.” That is wrong. Progressives, or those on the left, are primarily responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, overtime pay, the expansion of voting rights to women and blacks, and a slew of other beneficial programs and protections the majority of Americans wholeheartedly embrace.

Progressives also go to war and fight for this country. U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a progressive Democrat from Illinois, lost both of her legs fighting for this country. We know of no one else in the current U.S. Senate or on our local Board of Commissioners who has made such a sacrifice for this country.

Cancel culture can be very loosely defined as an attempt to silence, demonize and/or ostracize people because they have different beliefs. Or, as black feminist Loretta Ross, who opposes cancel culture, wrote in The New York Times, it is an attempt “to expunge anyone with whom they do not perfectly agree” by people who “become the self-appointed guardians of political purity.”

To be clear, cancel culture occurs from both ends of the political spectrum – the right and the left. During the Vietnam War, many college students shouted down students who supported the war. More recently, professors at Princeton made 50 demands, including a faculty committee to “oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research and publication on the part of faculty,” while never clarifying what accounts for as being “racist.” There are dozens of other examples of progressives practicing cancel culture that have a chilling effect on free speech.

Conservatives also employ cancel culture. The term RINO (Republican in Name Only) is used to silence any dissent or diversity within the party. (It’s strange that Mitt Romney, who has been a lifetime Republican, is called a RINO by supporters of Donald Trump, who was a Democrat for several years.) Cancel culture from the right reached its apex – we hope – on Jan. 6 when Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to literally “cancel” the votes cast in the Electoral College.

Another indicator of cancel culture from both the right and left is the list of banned or challenged books, as compiled by the American Library Association. Eight of the top 10 books challenged in 2019 were challenged because of transgender characters and LGBTQIA+ content. The other two were “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the Harry Potter series because the latter contains witches and magic. Since 2001, other books that have been challenged or banned include “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Holy Bible,” “The Hunger Games,” “Brave New World,” “Of Mice and Men,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “The Color Purple” and “Captain Underpants.”

There is nothing positive about cancel culture. It obliterates any attempt of honest dialogue that could lead us to discerning the truth and achieving common goals. It intensifies political polarization and undermines the common good. It should be pointed out and eschewed, no matter its origin.

If not, Americans, and Baby Boomers in particular, may rue the fact that they and their elected leaders focused more on cancel culture and political posturing instead of focusing on the everyday issues, like health care, when, in the future, they’re lying unattended in their own feces and urine for several hours because hospitals or nursing homes are shortstaffed.


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