Don’t cancel thy neighbor
The book title “The Case for Cancel Culture,” featured in a recent author Q&A, hinges on a fundamental misuse of the term “cancel culture.”
Yes, protests and social change have been around forever. But “cancel culture” is a term for refusing to engage with or make a space for ideas that are different. Social media has been a catalyst for this behavior because we can “block” users who say things we don’t like, whereas if that person is your neighbor, you will see them whether you want to or not, and hopefully you both will eventually learn compassion and understanding from living lives that intersect. You can’t “cancel” your neighbor.
I was born in 1952. My father had returned from the “police action” in Korea as a “fire control technician” (target acquisition) for his U.S. Navy destroyer. He loved the Navy, with its order and young male camaraderie. He made lifelong friends there.
He also acquired the seeds of lifelong trauma, depression, and uncontrollable rage, which late in my life he attributed to having targeted civilian targets, such as a man on the beach on a bicycle and a woman hanging clothes on the line, with the ships’ 16” guns.
He came home to eventually attend divinity school and become an Episcopal priest. He was a lifelong civil rights activist.
My point is that much of what I heard in the article “Marketplace of ideas? Neither side is buying anymore” is a longing to return to a idyllic past that never was.
Critical race theory (and “woke” culture in general) threatens this fantasy – as does the empowerment of women, descendants of slaves, and the nearly extinguished Indigenous peoples of this continent. The olden days are not pretty. Much like a multiple-
fatality car crash, it’s the stuff of nightmares for first responders.
Douglas County, Missouri
War over Taiwan? Maybe not.
Based on reporting from other news outlets, one might come to a conclusion that there is no alternative to what seems like the ever-escalating tension between China and Taiwan. It was refreshing to read that there might be a more centered middle way (“Taiwan: Two presidents, two trips, two paths to handling China”) – which in fact has been successful in maintaining the status quo up until recently.
Taiwan has demonstrably flourished within a framework of practical tolerance and understanding, melded with allowing for political differences.
How divided are we, really?
Kudos covering a divisive issue (“Sobering moment: Americans reflect on Trump indictment”).
But I would like to caution the reporters to stop repeating the oft-used “deeply divided nation” trope. It dignifies the idea that the country is in an intractable battle of ideologies. I truly believe that most Americans still have far more in common than not.
Most everyone would adamantly support the idea that we all need to have indoor plumbing, reliable electricity, and a capable military. Most would agree that it’s generally best to treat others as we wish to be treated. The “deeply divided” nation mantra has to yield to the ideas about what unites us.