Don’t feed the fire

Cancel culture is exploding across the country, with predictably disastrous effects. First, the statues of the Confederacy started coming down. Even among those who declared this to be justified and overdue, voices warned that it wouldn’t stop there if “removal by riot” were to become the modus operandi.

In fact, it did not stop there. In the aftermath of the George Floyd and Raychard Brooks protests, riots and civil unrest, other monuments have come under attack in cities across the country including statues of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt; national anthem author Francis Scott Key; explorer Christopher Columbus; and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (who legitimately battled fascism). Vandals have also defaced or destroyed memorials of slavery abolitionists, fallen World War I and World War II soldiers, Mahatma Gandhi, the Armenian genocide, America’s first responders and Black soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War.

The violence is senseless, ignorant and indiscriminate. The cries of the mobs have taken on the tone of a cult. It is heresy, blasphemy to point out any good these historical figures have done. (Grant led the Union Army to victory in the Civil War and, as president, aggressively went after the Ku Klux Klan. Roosevelt broke up monopolies and gave us the National Park System.) The subjects of statuaries are to be judged only by their sins.

Everything must now be viewed through the lens of the new proletariat uprising. Allegiance must be sworn to the new edicts. Homage must be paid to those declared martyrs. Loyalty oaths and purity tests are administered on social media. Those falling short are condemned and publicly shamed, the accoutrements of their utterly ordinary lives (jobs, reputations, friends, pets) ripped away.

What is “falling short”? Asking for investigations before jumping to conclusions; pointing out the dangers of hysterical overreactions; and defending protests but condemning riots, violence, arson and general destruction of property.

We have to put out the fires, not feed them. Once the situation has calmed down, then we should aggressively try to weed out those in every industry who spread ignorance and promote destruction. We do that not with violence but with our voices, our votes — and our money. Stand up for our founding principles; call out and vote out those who don’t. And, most importantly, stop funding them.

If we lack the fortitude to do that, if we think the wildfire will do it for us, then we have very little chance of surviving what’s coming next.


Laura Hollis is a nationally syndicated columnist.


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