Accountability is not Cancellation

The newest shield for racism, sexism, and just poor behavior is a new set of buzz words. Instead of facing the truth about systemic racism, the words ‘Race Card’ become a shield. Instead of answering for blatant sexism, we say ‘PC culture’ is overtaking us. And for pure bad behavior, we do not apologize, we say ‘Cancel Culture’ is an insult to free speech. The idea of mislabeling those who want better from society as ‘cancellers’ is not new. When Martin Luther King Jr. enlisted the aid of freedom riders from northern states they were called “ outside agitators.” The rise of radio bomb-thrower Rush Limbaugh was built on words and phrases that ended with women being labeled as “feminazis.” Even the current president who has called people dogs, pigs, and an assortment of kindergarten insults, is excused by his followers as his just “saying it like it is.”  

Most times the words, race card, pc culture and cancel culture are not advancing the conversation they are tools to shut it down. Instead of closing the conversation, why not open it with an admission. America, for the most part, is a forgiving country if you admit your mistake, and do not couch it with words like, “ if I offended anyone, or, mistakes were made,…” Blaming the victims of your racism or insensitivity by telling them they brought it on themselves by not accepting your insult is deranged. Sure, there are humorless people in the world but what someone feels is an insult is their call, not yours.  

People are, and do feel aggrieved.  Saying they are playing a game of poker or whining about them not thinking you are as funny as George Carlin or Richard Pryor does not ease the pain. Sometimes saying,  I was wrong, make me understand, stops what you may feel is your cancellation. Sometimes it does not work, like in the cases of Cathy Griffin or former Senator Al Franken, but at least they recognized that some people were hurt. Franken resigned and Griffin despite her mea culpa, career has not recovered. A few examples come to mind where sincerity, honor, and malevolence intersect.

Joy-Ann Reid is a hugely rated evening talk host on MSNBC, in 2009 she posted obvious and low-rent LGBTQIA slurs at then Florida Governor Charlie Christ. At some points referring to him as “Miss Charlie.”   Ms. Reid, who then and now, supports gay rights, took the wrong road to drive out what she thought was Christ’s hypocrisy. “This note is my apology to all who are disappointed by the content of blogs I wrote a decade ago, for which my choice of words and tone have legitimately been criticized,” Reid said in a statement. She subsequently dedicated one of her old weekend shows, before her promotion to weeknights, to those who wanted to admonish her and would be willing to accept her apology—sincerity.  

In the past two weeks, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden apologized for the stance and statements he made in the lead-up and vote for the 1994 Crime Bill, it was a “mistake” Joe Biden said without equivocation—honor.  

Donald Trump is famous for his refusal to apologize no matter what the issue, the cause, or injustice.

Trump, Oct. 10, 2016: That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country and certainly I am not proud of it, but that was something that happened. If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words and his was action. His words, what he has done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that has been so abusive to women. So you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton is abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women, and attacked them viciously, four of them here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman at 12 years old was raped. At 12. Her client, she represented, got him off and she is seen laughing on two occasions laughing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shelton, that young woman, is here with us tonight. So don’t tell me about words. I am, absolutely, I apologize for those words, but it is things that people say, but what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law, he had to pay an $850,000 fine to one of the women. Paula Jones who is also here tonight. And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.Fact Check.org.

Of course, Mr. Trump, embedded lies, misdirection, projection, and most of all a lack of sincerity, honor, or accountability, but lots of malevolence.

Vote November 3rd for Change—and your lives.