Jargon, Slogan, War Chant or Necessary Evil
As a student of history, I can take any example, examine it from multiple angles and discover it has happened before. If we can learn from our current moments in time, we might become wiser and better able to prevent bad things we see coming our way before they can cause harm.
Let’s consider the Teapot Dome bribery scandal involving one of President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet members, Albert Bacon Fall, who was Secretary of the Interior from 1921 to 1923. This goofball had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. Why did he do that? Well, he took bribes from the oil companies. Fall was charged, convicted and became the first presidential cabinet member to go to prison. Albert Bacon Fall literally took the fall because no oil executives were convicted.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “When the affair became known, Congress directed President Harding to withdraw the leases; the Supreme Court declared the leases fraudulent and ruled illegal Harding’s transfer of authority to Fall. Although the president himself was not implicated in the transactions, the revelations of his associates’ misconduct took a severe toll on his health. Disillusioned and exhausted, he died before the full extent of the wrongdoing had been determined.” So, Congress canceled the deals but someone in a higher office canceled President Harding’s life.
Not all Cancel Culture targets create their own demise. America has the glare of news coverage, rumblings on social media and various bullies pounding their pulpits to cancel people. But what exactly does cancel mean in this context? When people behave badly they can become ostracized by others they don’t even know. The powerful cold-shoulder of cancelation can get a person fired from their job, disbarred from law practice or even arrested for a crime they may or may not have committed.
Shunning, disowning or moving an individual to isolation is not a new concept. Many tribes used this method as a strong but less violent way of punishing those who broke community rules. When it was revealed that Minnesota Senator Al Franken had taken sexual liberties with coworkers during his former life as an entertainer, he was spurned and slammed by many. This happened in the thick of the Me-too movement and it wasn’t long before the Cancel Culture urged Mr. Franken to resign. He left Congress and was replace by a female. Knowing what we know now, would he still be canceled today?
There are many people I would like to cancel but can’t because my voice is not that powerful and my leverage is even less so. Besides that, I simply don’t have the time or motivation to frame a campaign or hype a hashtag. I have absolutely no use for Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and would surely support canceling him, but then what? We would probably end up with someone like Georgia’s Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. She denies that a plane hit the Pentagon on 9-11, supports the idea that the Parkland school shooting was a “false flag” operation meant to usher in tighter gun laws and believes that the California wildfires were ignited by a Jewish space laser program.
The dumbing down of America has brought us some real doozies. First there was Sarah Palin of Alaska, then along came Donald Trump and now we have the quirky QAnon people preaching their platform. Instead of wasting time talking about the Republican party divide, let’s find a way to stop these lunatics from advancing lies that have major, destructive consequences. It’s time to cancel your subscription to the far-stupid media.
Gabriel Sterling is an official in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and one Republican whom I really respect. He forcefully came out against election fraud claims and stated that big lie had incited intimidation, harassment and death threats. Mr. Sterling got specific and spoke directly to Donald Trump, “It has to stop. Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you’ve not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some!” During his speech in the Georgia capital, he added, “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed! It’s not right.”
The lie of the stolen election drove thousands of people to charge the Capitol, proving that Mr. Sterling was right. People were hurt and killed in that tragic melee. If ever there was a reason to cancel Donald Trump and all the sycophants kissing his fat ass, there it is. Folks were warned but they did nothing.
The term Cancel Culture is a slick slogan that easily rolls off the tongue, but let’s not forget that the word “culture” has a far greater meaning. Culture embodies the customs, arts, social institutions, intellectual achievements and other manifestations of human activity by a nation‘s people or other type of social group. The Trump tribe is a culture of lies and misinformation. It’s hardly an intellectual achievement and certainly more worthy of cancellation than a low rated TV show.
Most people perpetrate the lie after they’ve been caught up in a crime, but when the lie is itself the crime peace and redemption can never be reached unless the liar admits the untruth. There were lies aplenty in the Trump tribe. People were told COVID is not that bad and there’s no need to wear a mask. The 2020 stolen election fraud caused an insurrection at the Capitol Building. These were the “facts“ of the far-dumb fiction followers that caused lives to be lost .
I’m not proposing we cancel Trump by erasing all that has been written or said about the man. Some believe he was the best president we have ever had. That reminds me of the 1958 Edsel automobile. The Ford Motor Company invested $250 million developing the Edsel, believing it would be the best car ever. The Edsel was a total failure, just like Trump.
So, here’s where we stand after four years of Donald John Trump. The Republican are not happy, the Democrats are mad and impatient, the Progressives want more socialism, and the far dumb folks want to take back “their country” with flags, guns and more lies. There’s no telling what QAnon might do if they gain significant power, probably public executions. Then there’s that orange Trump guy worried about Cancel Culture when he should be focused on staying out of jail. If you don’t convict, you are complicit.
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Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”