By Joe Darby
In my first few columns since I’ve been back, I’ve written about very personal events along with a couple of lighthearted opinion pieces. Now this week I’m going to get serious. And I’m likely to make both political extremes mad at me but that’s all right. One of the things this country needs is a true variety of opinions, in which folks are not afraid to speak out.
I say that because one of my chief concerns about political trends today is the cancel culture, the atmosphere in which if you don’t agree with the principles of the far left, you don’t deserve to keep your job, you should be shunned by “woke” society and you better just shut up and be still.
People are being punished for some obscure remark that they may have made many years ago. And today’s insidious social media make it easy for the woke police to seek out and find any past transgressions against their creed. A person may have made some statement when he or she was a teenager that doesn’t meet the standards of today’s left, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a figurative “off with their heads.”
America has always thrived because people felt the right to speak out, relying on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech. But fear of leftist reaction is putting a strong damper on that right. Alarmingly, in a 2020 survey, about 60 percent of college students feared to speak out because of the anticipated reaction of fellow students or faculty.
And, in my opinion, the more this culture persists, the more powerful it will become and moderates and conservatives will tend to sit back and allow the leftist restrictions to become more and more the rule.
I’m also disappointed in the fact that, not always but almost invariably, when a moderate or moderate conservative makes a statement that is jumped on by the left, they “walk it back” as the phrase goes, and abjectly apologize. They would do much better to stick to their guns and stand up to the woke pressure.
There other issues pushed by the left that will be damaging to this country, including the crazy out of control spending, which will certainly bankrupt this nation if something is not done. And the blind attacks on our carbon energy industry, which has succeeded in making us energy independent for the first time in many years. But, for today, I am concentrating solely on dangers to the freedom of speech.
Now, I said earlier that I will likely make both extremes mad. That’s because, while I fear the leftist policies, I also believe Donald Trump was immensely damaging to the US. People say he stands up for America. I disagree. He stands up for Donald Trump. He is an ego maniac.
He was not cheated out of victory in the presidential race and whenever he went to court his attorneys had no legal proof whatsoever. Even conservative, Republican-appointed judges came to that opinion. And he WAS responsible for the attack on the US Capitol, one of the worst incidents in the whole history of this country. He is a terribly flawed, dangerous man.
Finally, it scares me that so many Republicans still support him. I am no longer a member of that party. I have been a proud, conservative Republican for many decades. I remain a conservative. But after the Capitol attack, I changed my registration to Independent. If the GOP once again becomes the responsible, truly conservative party it once was, (and Trump is not a true conservative) I will be happy to rejoin.