Have you or someone you know been affected by the cancel culture movement? According to dictionary dot com,” cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.”
A twenty-something friend and I discussed this topic recently. The young gentleman said that cancel culture can be useful, for example, it uncovers people for hidden wrongdoing (like sexual misconduct, corrupt business dealings, etc.). I questioned the fact that his generation was all about “Don’t judge” just a couple of years ago. Now, rampant judgment abounds in the court of social media. If “the group” decides you or your business should be blocked, your income lost, or your name is smeared, it is.
This is a citizenship issue, fellow Americans. Yes, it’s good to bring wrongdoing out of the darkness and into the light. However, the power to do so in the hands of angry, revenge-filled people can be disastrous. The young man agreed with me. Things go awry when “what goes around, comes around.” The very people doing the shaming can end up being canceled and shamed themselves.
Is this any way to run a culture? A profitable way to raise a generation? All of this energy going into destroying people, businesses, and property these days can’t be good for Americans. Zeal for a cause must not be allowed to turn citizens into zealots.
The cancel culture idea is not new. There was a movement in the mid- 20th century to find and root out every communist within the U.S. government. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy led a relentless campaign to call in anyone and everyone who might have been suspected of having communist ties. (Remember the term “Better dead than Red?” Some of you can still see those Army-McCarthy Senate hearings in the black/white television screen of your mind (before the advent of color t.v.). Americans were scared that they could be next. Maybe wrongly accused. Frightened by threats of being shamed. Losing their jobs, businesses, and lives.
Many received the cancel culture treatment. This went on for some time. Then, the army hired lawyer Joseph Welch. Senate dot gov reports how Mr. Welch did a cancel culture on Senator McCarthy. Welch confronted McCarthy at one of the hearings.” Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”
Overnight, McCarthy’s immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.”
Fellow Americans, I have a hard time accepting the idea that good comes from bad. There are laws and proper channels to raise concerns. Mob rule via cancel culture is not one of them. Perhaps we should all think of the unintended consequences of the cancel culture movement and try a better way.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??