While Fox News, rightwing hate radio and Republican politicians have been all over the "canceling" of racist Dr. Seuss drawings (by the family foundation) and Mr. Potatohead (by toymaker Hasbro), they've been quite vigorous in pursuing "cancel culture" in other areas.
Over the past few weeks, for example, they have gone out of their way to try to cancel any sort of assistance to the tens of millions of Americans wiped out or thrown into serious crisis by Trump's incompetence in handling the Covid pandemic.
When the Democrats finally got legislation together to rescue America, every single Republican in both the House and the Senate used every procedural move they could to cancel it (including forcing a public reading of the bill) and, in the end, every single one of them also voted to cancel it.
And now they're trying to cancel our memory of their opposition: Republican Senator Roger Wicker just tweeted out a brag on how the Covid Rescue legislation will help restaurants in his state of Mississippi…even though he trash-talked it and voted to cancel it.
But that's just the beginning.
Republicans have been trying to cancel the minimum wage ever since it was enacted in the 1930s; more recently they've successfully canceled every attempt to increase that wage for well over a decade.
Republicans have done their best to cancel American's health care, from multiple lawsuits going all the way to the Supreme Court to cancel Obamacare, to nearly every Red state, to this day, refusing to expand Medicaid for their lowest-paid working people.
Along those same lines, Republicans have fought to cancel unions ever since the 1920s. In the 1940s they passed the Taft Hartley Act over President Harry Truman's veto, which gave individual states the right to cancel unions; nearly every Red State in the union has now taken them up on this, crashing union membership in America from about a third of all workers in 1980 to fewer than 6% of the private workforce today.
Republicans have worked hard to cancel educational opportunity for Americans, from elementary school through college. While Republican President Dwight Eisenhower built brand-new schools all across the United States in the 1950s, everything changed when Reagan came into office in 1981. He appointed Bill "You could abort every Black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down" Bennett as his Education Secretary and you can draw straight line from there to Betsy DeVos trying to cancel public schools all across America and replace them with for-profit private academies.
Republicans have been working since 1980 to cancel a woman's right to choose an abortion, and have even fought, in hundreds of legislative and legal cases, a woman's right to use birth control. Most recently, Republican State Representative Bryan Slayton introduce into the Texas legislature a law laying the death penalty on any woman who gets an abortion. He doesn't specify whether they should be killed by firing squad, hanging, or lethal injection, but when I asked a Republican candidate at CPAC some years ago which technique should be used to execute women who get an abortion, he simply said, "That's up to the states."
Republicans have also been trying to cancel the workplace, political, and social rights of women for two-years-short-of-a-century. The Equal Rights Amendment simply says: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." It was written by Alice Paul in 1923, and finally passed Congress on March 22, 1972, but still had to be ratified by 3/4 of the states. Republicans in state after state fought it for decade after decade until it finally passed that threshold last year; now a federal judge says that too much time has passed and Congress needs to start all over again. So far, they've succeeded in canceling it (SCOTUS is next).
Republicans have been trying to cancel your clean air since the 1970s when the Environmental Protection Agency came into law after Congress ignored Richard Nixon's threatened 1970 veto. Every Republican administration since then has done everything they could to weaken it.
Similarly, in 1972, Richard Nixon vetoed the Clean Water Act, although Congress overrode his attempt to cancel our right to clean water. more recently, Donald Trump was quite proud that the first consequential piece of legislation he signed was a resolution that allowed coal mining companies to dump their waste directly into rivers, flooding the water supplies of downriver cities with toxic mercury, cadmium and other substances that are neurologically destructive to children.
Pretty much every Republican legislator alive today has spent most of their careers trying to cancel the right of LGBTQ Americans to get married. At the state level, there have been hundreds of attempts that go beyond even that, trying to cancel adoptions and foster parenting.
Over the past year, Republicans have used intentional policy (refusing to mandate masks) and public statements like "it's just like the flu" to give the US the highest Covid infection and death rates in the world, cancelling the lives of over a half-million of us while countries like Taiwan and South Korea have seen only dozens or a few hundred deaths.
They're even trying to get average Americans to cancel getting the Covid vaccine, presumably to help President Biden "fail" at containing the epidemic. As Parker Beauregard writes at Blue State Conservative, "I draw the line is shots for chicken pox, shingles, flu, HPV, and now Covid. Statistically speaking, none of these viruses are going to be my undoing, and the risk of injecting unknown substances into my body to impart potentially helpful immunization doesn't stack up against my body's God-given and nature-made defense mechanisms."
And the Governors of Texas and a few other states are trying to cancel the lives of thousands of their own citizens by eliminating mask mandates and forcing restaurant and bar owners to become their own "mask police," which will be an absolute customer service mess for any business that wants to protect its employees.
In Oklahoma, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to cancel the lives of Black Lives Matter and other protesters. They passed a bill that would decriminalize killing "protesters" by driving a car into a crowd if the driver/killer was "fearful" about the crowd. This is just the latest variation on the Florida GOP's "Stand Your Ground" law that gave George Zimmerman the "right to kill" Trayvon Martin because he was Black and therefore "looked threatening" to Zimmerman.
Perhaps most troubling, the GOP is all about canceling your vote. At least if you're poor, Black, Hispanic, a college student, or a Social Security voter. The Brennan Center documents how over 200 pieces of legislation that cancel your right to vote are working their ways through 40 state legislatures at this very moment; Georgia just passed two of them that would outlaw "Souls to the Polls" and mail-in voting, and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds just signed another big Republican cancel-your-vote piece of legislation this week.
Meanwhile, Republican appointees on the Supreme Court let Republican Secretaries of State cancel the voter registrations of over 20 million Americans in the last dozen years, and let them enthusiastically reduce the number of voting machines and voting locations, particularly in Black, Hispanic and working-class neighborhoods, to cancel their right to easily vote in less than five or six or 10 hours. Georgia just passed a law to cancel your right to receive a bottle of water or slice of pizza while standing in those obscene lines.
It turns out that America actually does have an issue with "cancel culture." Our problem is that the media has been focusing on the wrong one.
Originally posted on thomhartmann.medium.com.