Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

How Do We Return to the Days of Honest Debate and Civility?

             The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is cancel culture, the enemy of freedom of speech. It is the effort by Democrats, liberals, Leftists, and socialist to cancel all conservatives and their policies. Cancel culture has gotten so bad that even Democrats fear that it will come for them at a future time. It is also backfiring on a regular basis.

            Kay C. James is a black conservative, and she is quite familiar with cancel culture. The cancel culture has tried to cancel James for more than 40 years. She wrote, “I was canceled by the political left long before cancel culture was all the range. 

            Before she became the president of The Heritage Foundation, James was formerly the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as well as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources. She is also the founder and chairman of the board of The Gloucester Institute.

Liberal America doesn’t want to hear from African American conservatives because we go counter to its narrative that black people needed liberal saviors, especially ones who come bearing gifts of more government.

But we weren’t just canceled by liberals. For decades, liberals worked to put a wedge between black conservatives and our own communities. As a result, many African American leaders wouldn’t invite us to the table and wouldn’t allow us to offer our ideas to help solve problems in our own communities. We weren’t considered “authentically black” – whatever that is.

            James was “lectured” about “being a traitor to my race when I started thinking for myself as a young woman in my 20s.” She dared to question the idea that “government was always the answer to our social ills. They also called her a traitor because she was the national spokesperson for the National Right to Life Committee and discussed “the tragic wrong of abortion, especially in the African American Community.”

The leftists “lost it” when James “started a crisis pregnancy center to help black women keep their babies and again when she “led the effort to reform welfare in Virginia in the 1990s.” The system that she was trying to reform “discouraged marriage and work, that weakened the black family, and that fostered perpetual dependence.”

Because she “has been a public figure” for four decades, she learned much about “cancel culture and the ‘woke’ cancel culture that pervades society today.” Here are the seven lessons that she learned.

1. First and foremost, don’t give a damn about cancel culture. If you do, you’re giving small-minded people control over you that they don’t deserve….

2. Always be honest. The best defense is always the truth. Moreover, make sure you have your facts straight before you speak and that you can back up what you say.

3. When you’re wrong, have the courage to admit you’re wrong. But when you’re right and taking a principled stand, have the courage to stand up for those principles, even in the face of withering criticism. Others will see your strength and be encouraged by it.

But if you’re right and you give in, you have only served to embolden cancel culture. You have fed its voracious appetite and made it stronger, giving it more energy to seek out its next victim [and] harder for others to stand up for the truth….

4. Don’t try to cancel others. There’s no need to be cruel and adopt the tactics of cancellation….

5. Be principled and don’t be a hypocrite. Hypocrites make easy targets for canceling and are fun for everyone to take down few pegs.

6. Expect that anything you write or anything that you say in front of a camera … could end up trending on social media or landing on the front page of a newspaper… think twice about saying or doing it.

7. There are an awful lot of people who are willing to deliberately take things out of context to make other people look bad. So always include context with what you say and write publicly…. People may still take you out of context, but you will always “have the receipts,” as they say.

            The Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We have the right to say or write anything that we choose. So, in the words of James, “you can’t be afraid to speak up for what you know is right.” She said, “Honest debate has been the cornerstone of Americans finding the best solutions to our biggest issues for nearly 250 years. For the sake of our society, it’s time to return to those days” when we could debate, disagree, and still be civil.

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