In the past few weeks we have seen so much polarization and hysteria from all corners of the country. A lot of these cries have been justified, but a lot have been completely outrageous as well. The nuances of these situations are as prevalent as ever, but for some reason there isn’t the real conversations to get the real results we need being had.
The rise of cancel culture of course is nuanced. Sometimes it is looking for a person with influence that you disagree with to be de-platformed and have their careers and livelihoods ruined. This leads to losing focus of the actual change needed and creates a witch-hunt atmosphere that becomes the worst type of groupthink to take down a civilization. It ultimately leads to a cannibalism where we are tearing each other apart and nothing gets accomplished.
The other side of cancel culture is people who want to keep our history in check. They think it’s important to recognize the flaws in many of history’s heroes and not everyone who we learn about growing up is as pristine as we may have learned. This is important too, but the way that these objections are presented usually try to discredit all the good these people did. It takes those who are role models in society and tries to paint them as historical villains. They try to make the people who support people, like those on Mount. Rushmore, for example, are a part of the problem and need to be scolded.
That’s why it’s seen as a “cancel”, because there is a refusal to just say something along the lines of, “Yea George Washington had flaws. He was alive during the practice of chattel slavery of thousands of African Americans and even owned slaves himself. But, he also led us to freedom from tyranny and was our countries first President and should be celebrated as a society”. Both of these statements can be true and this doesn’t mean that every decision that he made was with a racist intent.
This idea that the bad this person did completely outweighs all the good is a narrow minded approach that seems to fit ever so perfectly into today’s world. There aren’t enough rational voices who are willing to actually have these important conversations regardless of political affiliation.
So when I see publications going after our nations federal monuments, like Mount Rushmore or Andrew Jackson, it makes me upset as an American. We should use our history to be the shoulders we stand on and continue building higher and stronger. For everyone. These Presidents may not have been perfect but that needs to get back to being accepted as okay in society. The President is also a citizen, and knowing his/her flaws is what can be used as a springboard to try and be better as a nation. No one is perfect and no one should be historically remembered as being such. But to seemingly erase them from our memory? That’s not freedom and that’s not a world we want to live in. It becomes the plot of George Orwell’s 1984.
Mount Rushmore is an interesting case that crazily seemed like it was only a matter of time before it became problematic in 2020. The mainstream idea of having the “top 4” of a subject become for almost any conversation/debate has always been referred to as the “Mount Rushmore of _______”. Are we no longer allowed to have these debates? Is having these discussions now an endorsement of these racist characterizations of the people involved with one of America’s most historic monuments?
I think that’s crazy. And I think it’s time for some of the leaders in our society, outside of just conservative news outlets, to talk about how crazy this is. I immediately think of the podcast Pardon My Take and how they have made these “Mount Rushmore Debates” a staple of their show for the past 3 years, especially during the summer time and even this past quarantine.
Big Cat and PFT have been having conversations about the social problems and the unrest in our society recently. Big Cat this week had to defend himself against cancel culture, and PFT has always been an adversary, and often voice of reason, to his boss’ antics. They know they have an influence. and try to be reasonable for everyone with as little conflict as possible. But they need to be reasonable for both sides. Overall, they’ve had healthy conversation and of course they are just trying to do the right thing. But they need to use the influence that they’ve worked so hard to build to fight for reason and decency in all aspects of our world.
To be fair, I respect the fact that they don’t want to be a political show. Most of the time when they choose to stay out of politics it’s completely their prerogative and I will never judge them for that. It’s just that when things are getting this absurd it’s important that people with real influence take a stand. I doubt anyone will actually go after them for using the Mount Rushmore segment of the show, but the fact that I’m even thinking that it’s a legit possibility shows how ridiculous it is.
I’m not saying they feed into the whole cancel/snowflake culture either, because Big Cat for sure has spoken out against the outrage mob, but it could be an opportunity for them to take a strong stand against this mob and make some people realize how ridiculous they sound.
Maybe they’ll make a joke about how their show is “On the Hot Seat” for a segment when they get back to recording next week but I think it could be a big step with their audience if they put down this hysteria and take a real stand against many of the uproars we see in the constant moving news cycle. The best part about Barstool is the employees’ ability to talk freely and I feel they should use that to urge others to do the same.
It takes courage to speak up against the mob but it’s as important as ever in today’s climate. We need rational, smart people to say something to stop the hysteria and get everyone to just calm down.