Of course “cancel culture” is just the latest two-note Republican leitmotif. Just another trope they can rend their garments and don their sackcloth and ashes about. What’s more, they know they can crop-dust their base with it and get the expected results: millions of fools suddenly livid about something they didn’t even know existed a couple of years ago and would never have noticed on their own.
No longer content to falsely accuse the Black Lives Matter movement with merely “disrespecting the flag” while kneeling during the performance of the Star Spangled Banner, Republicans are recruiting “taking a knee” into the “cancel culture” boondoggle. BLM is trying to cancel the flag, or so their narrative goes.
It’s another hypocrisy played right out in the open. Republicans can get away with it in a world relentlessly bombarded by sound bites and handicapped by credulity. But if you want to see the man behind the curtain, a peek beneath it was recently divulged at a women’s basketball game in Norman, Oklahoma.
It seems that two Norman radio announcers forgot to cut their mics during the playing of the National Anthem. All the girls on the Norman team, some of them white, took a knee. After lamenting about it on the accidentally open mic, one of the announcers, Matt Rowan, can be clearly heard saying, “I hope Norman gets their ass kicked.” Then, after a few other similarly enlightened sentences, he summarizes by saying, “F****** n******.” (I apologize for having to write this filth, brothers and sisters, even in the graven image of the asterisk.)
Of course, any time a morally reprehensible cretin gets caught in the act of being a morally reprehensible cretin, a predictable statement follows. The announcer, Mr. Rowan, released such a statement. His written partial mea culpa blames his blood sugar. He suffers from type I diabetes, you see, and apparently his blood sugar was spiking at the moment and he became disoriented. He’s a family man, a youth pastor and a member of a Baptist Church. “I am not a racist,” Mr. Rowan proclaims, “I have never considered myself to be a racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments.”
Perhaps I can help Mr. Matt Rowan out. You see, I am a type II diabetic, and I know a thing or two about blood sugar spikes. I was even once a member of a Baptist Church, long ago. And to complete the picture, my father was born in Norman, Oklahoma.
So here’s the thing, Mr. Rowan, and you need to pay strict attention, from one diabetic Baptist with roots in Norman to another: you may think you’re not a racist, but I know I am one. The difference between you and me, sir, is that I hate that part of me and I am constantly monitoring myself about it. I hate my white, privileged cultural predispositions. But I am aware of them and actively fighting them. With the sincerity of an alcoholic following a 12-step program, I acknowledge I have a problem. My diabetes never played a role in my racism. The problem is the culture I was brought up in, and my own easy and arrogant acceptance of that culture. Your problem, sir, is you don’t know you have a problem. And it’s a big one.
You got caught in a loathsome snapshot of who you are, and it’s not down to your diabetes or your church or the phases of the moon. It’s down to you. Until you recognize you have a problem, you’re going to go right on having it.
The larger picture, of course, is this is what’s wrong with Republican attacks on BLM. It’s not about the flag. It’s not about “cancel culture.” Republicans, even Republicans in Norman, Oklahoma, disrespect the American flag every day by waving around the Nazi flag or flying the Stars and Bars on the backs of their trucks. They hate BLM because they hate people of color, and their attack on it is just their excuse to attack people of color out in the open, people they want the police to go right on murdering.
Taking a knee during the playing of the anthem isn’t disrespecting the flag, it’s a quiet protest against judicial police murder, and it’s a protest that is protected by and sacredly enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, the very document the flag symbolically represents. Taking a knee is people going respectfully and peacefully to the consecrated symbol and music of America and symbolically beseeching it for clemency in the name of the flag, not as a denunciation of the flag. That is all.
The real “cancel culture” is Republicans desperately trying to silence our Constitutionally protected protests against injustice in order to stop the march of social progress. While they weep crocodile tears and clutch their pearls and claim victimhood over Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head (two corporations making free-enterprise decisions on their own without government interference, by the way), we are trying to save the planet from racism, global warming, a deadly pandemic and the economic hardship of families in need. Meanwhile racists continue to enjoy their freedoms in the luxury of a free society we are fighting to preserve, including the freedom to say what they really believe, even when the mic is accidentally left on. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.