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Memorial Day Shaming: The Rightwing Version of Cancel Culture

Few things are more troubling in modern American society than the phenomenon of the Cancel Culture, which effectively shuns anyone who’s not as pure and committed to a particular cause as is the shunner. Typically, that behavior is associated with those who lean decidedly left of center, thereby modifying the description of the shunners to: Cancel Culture Left.

Ironically, today’s progressives are the progeny of Sixties and Seventies liberals. Those old schoolers truly cherished the freedoms of speech, thought, and expression, and encouraged their conservative counterparts to be more openminded and to at least tolerate if not embrace new ways of thinking. Yet, today, the narrowminded fuddy-duddies are more likely to be Democrat twentysomethings, not their Republican senior citizen grandparents.

Nonetheless, there are exceptions to that general rule. This past Memorial Day weekend is a striking example of rightwing hypocrites exhibiting some of that same relentless purity over which they lambaste the left.

Most Americans shake their heads in disbelief when statues of Abraham Lincoln are vandalized. Sure, he abolished slavery, but apparently he wasn’t committed enough, says the Cancel Culture Left. Preserving the Union, not ending slavery, was his most important concern. Gee, the nerve of him.

A good number of folks on the right correctly describe the Cancel Culture Left’s thinking as insane. Yet, based on their antics from a couple of weeks ago, they really ought to look in the mirror.

I refer to the backlash President Biden and VP Kamala Harris faced for their tweets throughout the early part of Memorial Day Weekend. Biden advised Americans to “stay cool,” and Harris conveyed her wishes that they “enjoy the long weekend.” “What sheer disregard for the fallen men and women who bravely gave up their lives for our country!” the haters bellowed. They steamed over the concept that Biden and Harris think it’s just a day of beer and burgers in the backyard instead of a solemn day of reflection and gratitude. I doubt that these same critics gave a hoot in 2018 as they drank and belched while their favorite rock station counted down the top 1000 songs of all time, when President Trump, their hero, tweeted “Happy Memorial Day!” in 2018.

For the record, Biden and Harris fulfilled their expected obligations by paying their respects at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2021 (May 31). Again, the shameless critics quipped that they only did that in response to the backlash about their callous, insensitive tweets a couple of days earlier. Yeah, sure: Joe and Kamala were all set to fire up the grill on Memorial Day without a care in the world, until their handlers told them: “hey, you’d better get out there and go to that cemetery where they have all those buried soldiers – what’s the name of it? – just to control the damage” and the leaders replied: “oh, thanks for the tip, we’ll go ahead and do that.” Obviously, Biden and Harris planned to visit Arlington all along and didn’t think that every single message they tweeted during the last few days of May had to pay homage to our troops.

The left and right alike tout this unattainable and disingenuous purity standard. Democrats typically accuse Republican leaders of not caring enough about persons of color. For those new to the parlor game of cutthroat politics, it wasn’t just about Trump. Look up Hurricane Katrina and read in some left-catering comfort food publication about how that storm apparently ravaged only New Orleans and only the black sections of town, and the insensitive George W. Bush and the rest of his white supremacist clan barely lifted a finger to help them because of their skin color.

The right, on the other hand, routinely military-shames the left. They call them out for not wearing the American flag on their lapels. President Obama did that once and they jumped all over him as if he had just declared his allegiance to Lenin and was the second coming of Julius Rosenberg. And if you’re a Democratic president, you’d better salute that uniformed person standing at attention at the foot of Air Force One or Marine One, or the bashers will label you an America-hating traitor for sure.

Thanks to the Internet, a whole lot of hackers of intellectualism on both the left and right, who otherwise couldn’t name all three branches of government even if you spotted them the first two, start spewing terms like “emoluments clause” and “Sioux uprising,” as if they’ve known about those things for more than five minutes.

This is all part of political sabotage. It’s an attempt to siphon votes from a candidate’s base. Active and retired military personnel are perceived to vote Republican, but that’s not always the case. Our vets are a big group, and a considerable amount of them voted for Biden. What better way, then, to cut into some of those votes than to perpetuate the myth that Biden thinks that Memorial Day is nothing more than an extra day to party? It won’t be long until commercials pop up with a white-haired veteran in full military regalia who explains that he voted for Biden in 2020 but would never make that same mistake again.

The reason we vote, whether we realize it or not, is because we believe the candidate we prefer is the best of all viable options to address the issues we consider to be most important. But there’s a reason no one major party dominates consistently, because both Democrats and Republicans are perpetually guilty of being sore losers and sore winners. We the people as a whole can’t stand either party steering the ship for too long.

There’s already plenty to criticize Joe Biden and Kamala Harris about: there are several unflattering adjectives to describe them, but unpatriotic is not one of them. And if Republicans really intend on winning back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024, they need to stop with the pettiness and criticize those things that are truly important.

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