Some Americans have spent the last two weeks watching their respective parties hold political conventions to officially nominate their candidate of choice.  Now the business of voting can begin.

I admit that I did not tune in for either event.  I simply cannot watch the pomp and circumstance associated with political conventions.  As far as I am concerned, you can talk till the cows come home but making a bunch of promises that you do not have any way to accomplish makes me tune out.

Call me old fashioned, but I like action, not speeches and political rhetoric.

Since I spend a lot of time reading about current events, I prefer to read the coverage, instead of watching.  I can also watch the videos and decide for myself what was said.  I do not need talking heads to interpret for me.

I was not impressed with either convention platform, but you know you have entered the twilight zone when the Republican National Convention speakers choose to promote “freedom of speech” in their remarks.

The president’s son, Donald, Jr. began by proclaiming the Republican party “the home of free speech.”  He was followed by a congressional candidate who spoke about the party’s commitment to “freedom of speech, not freedom from speech.”

Then the man of the hour, Donald Trump, took the stage to blast society’s cancel culture environment.

For those who are wondering what that is, it refers to a popular practice of withdrawing public support for public figures and companies after they have said or done something considered to be offensive or objectionable.  It is usually done on the internet, via social media websites.

Cancel culture often involves threats of losing a job or calls for boycotting.

Some advocates of cancel culture say criticism of the movement is coming from politicians who are whining about being criticized.

The RNC even adopted a resolution calling for the end of cancel culture and several speakers mentioned the movement during their speeches.

I have just one question. Have these guys met their candidate?

Much like Mrs. Trump’s campaign to end online bullying, the irony here is glaring.

The same man, who just last week called for the boycott of Goodyear because the company has a policy discouraging employees from wearing political paraphernalia, wants to bark about the effects of cancel culture.

He called for the firing of football players because they refused to stand for the national anthem.

In 2018 he called for the boycott of Harley Davidson after the company said it was moving some of its production overseas to avoid tariffs.

He continually calls for the boycott of CNN because of their criticism of his administration.

In 2017, he announced he would not be eating any more Oreos after Nabisco announced it was moving some of its operations to Mexico.

He once said people who believe in free speech are “foolish.”

He demanded a news reporter be fired for tweeting about the crowd size of one of his political rallies.

Two times he has been to court to defend his actions of blocking individuals from responding to tweets on his Twitter account.

The appeals court ruled the “First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise open dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

No one benefits more from free speech than him.  And no one has used cancel culture more than him.

There is no human society on earth where you can say or do anything you want without consequences for your actions.

Here is the real reason they do not like cancel culture.  Cancelling is a way to acknowledge you have a voice to call attention to the behavior or actions of an individual or company. 

Make no mistake.  Cancel culture is about power and those who want to use it for their benefit.

Trump has repeatedly advocated for cancellations, boycotts and firings simply because he does not like something that was said about him or he disagreed with their actions.

Another thing that borders on ridiculous is being called unpatriotic when we question the actions of the president.   We have a right and a responsibility to question our leaders.  Without the ability to do that, then we have a dictatorship.

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, not freedom from criticism. If our freedom of speech hinges on the president’s approval of the content, then it is not free.

Everyone in America has the right to speak and its citizens have the right to praise, mock, ignore or cancel you. 

It is just how we roll here.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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