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A complete lack of forgiveness, a stifling of free discussion, an abolishment of due process, and unrelenting judgement is a far cry from an ideal to be strived for.

For years, ongoing debates continue to rage on each side of the political spectrum regarding the strategic viability, societal worth, and overall morality of cultural cancellations. Many left and right-wingers, democrats and republicans alike engage robustly in what has more commonly been referred to as cancel culture, a vague term usually referring to the targeted banishment of a specific individual, business, or idea forever from the good graces of society. Differing from boycotts, which typically place pressure on businesses to remedy unethical practices by withholding engagement until a situation is remedied, those engaging in cancel culture seek to completely excommunicate the offending party, usually with no opportunity for forgiveness, redemption, or invitation back into society at any point thereafter. No clear consensus exists regarding a stance on cancel culture within the two major US political parties, the narrative continuing to be riddled with hypocrisy and inconsistencies on each side. President Trump, for example, has both condemned cancel culture emphatically and simultaneously engaged in calls for firing NFL players for their refusal to stand during the national anthem or banning Goodyear tires for refusing to sell MAGA hats. Leftists who previously pointed fingers at pearl-clutching right-wing activists burning Dixie Chicks CDs after they insulted a republican president or calling for the removal of rap music from MTV now enthusiastically engage in the exact same cancellation tactics under the guise of social justice, crying for the banishment of seemingly anyone who dare challenges progressive orthodoxy or is guilty of having an imperfect past. Many articles written on cancel culture focus mostly on these very hypocrisies, pointing fingers at one party for what they are accusing the other of, and dodging stones thrown at their own glass houses, but what about the substantive value of cancel culture itself? Is there any true worth to the concept of cancellation, regardless of political party? Cancellations certainly make a great deal of noise, and ignite an unignorable fury, but in practice, the tactic proves to be nothing more than a misbegotten quest for politically correct or ideological purity, as strategically flawed as it is useless for society and morally bankrupt. Cancellations, even when successful in their full banishment of an offender, strategically fail by martyrizing and promoting that which never would have been elevated were it not for the cancellation itself. Many cancel culture advocates sever meaningful allegiances with would-be allies who deviate slightly from lockstep ideals in the pursuit of complete purity of thought, a mistake which has grave consequences to the advancement of meaningful societal change. Cancel culture is also inherently immoral, a disgusting practice which typically burns individuals in the court of public opinion, where one is guilty until proven even guiltier, and there is little to no room for absolution. …

Ariana Savalas

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