Recalls, Cancel Culture, Demands to Quit: The Era of Impatient Democracy

california recall

There was a time way back in the olden days of the twentieth century when the word cancel was connected to such things as a TV series being canceled after a number of years, school being canceled because of a blizzard, a magazine subscription or newspaper delivery was canceled because the unread editions were piling up and money was wasted, the 6:05pm to Bay Shore was canceled just because that’s what happens with trains so the ferry to Fire Island was missed on a Friday night, or a flight gets canceled due to weather and there is an unexpected overnight stay in a dreary city. 

Those were the cancelations of life that adults took in stride and good functional parents taught their kids that one can’t have everything they want whenever they want and that’s just the way life is. We were taught to pull up our bootstraps and deal with the cancelations that came our way. We were taught to deal with the hardships that came our way. It’s called resilience.  

Then came the 21st century and a new kind of cancelation emerged and took up all the air in the room: “cancel culture”. “Cancel culture” is not the innocent cancelations that I grew up with: school canceled because of a blizzard, a college class canceled because not enough students enrolled in it, All in the Family canceled because it was just time after eight seasons and they canceled Edith out the old fashioned way: they had her character die. No, twenty-first century cancelations are insidious. They are based on oppression and blacklisting. 

“Cancel culture” is based on tyranny – the screw up is: those who are responsible for it are the very ones whining about how poorly they have been treated. The oppressed and oppressor are one and the same. The problem then becomes that everyone eventually becomes the ‘other’ and an enemy regardless of what side of politics they are on – the onion skin is so thin that insult is the new normal and #metoo loses its impact. 

“Cancel culture,” as a concept, feels inescapable. The phrase is all over the news, tossed around in casual social media conversation; it’s been linked to everything from free speech debates to Mr. Potato Head.”

“ It sometimes seems all-encompassing, as if all forms of contemporary discourse must now lead, exhaustingly and endlessly, either to an attempt to “cancel” anyone whose opinions cause controversy or to accusations of cancel culture in action, however unwarranted.”

“In the rhetorical furor, a new phenomenon has emerged: the weaponization of cancel culture by the right.”

“Across the US, conservative politicians have launched legislation seeking to do the very thing they seem to be afraid of: Cancel supposedly left-wing businesses, organizations, and institutions; see, for example, national GOP figures threatening to punish Major League Baseball for standing against a Georgia voting restrictions law by removing MLB’s federal antitrust exemption.”

“Meanwhile, Fox News has stoked outrage and alarmism over cancel culture, including trying to incite Gen X to take action against the nebulous problem. Tucker Carlson, one of the network’s most prominent personalities, has emphatically embraced the anti-cancel culture discourse, claiming liberals are trying to cancel everything from Space Jam to the Fourth of July.”

“The idea of canceling began as a tool for marginalized communities to assert their values against public figures who retained power and authority even after committing wrongdoing — but in its current form, we see how warped and imbalanced the power dynamics of the conversation really are.”

“All along, debate about cancel culture has obscured its roots in a quest to attain some form of meaningful accountability for public figures who are typically answerable to no one. But after centuries of ideological debate turning over questions of free speech, censorship, and, in recent decades, “political correctness,” it was perhaps inevitable that the mainstreaming of cancel culture would obscure the original concerns that canceling was meant to address. Now it’s yet another hyperbolic phase of the larger culture war.”

“The core concern of cancel culture — accountability — remains as crucial a topic as ever. But increasingly, the cancel culture debate has become about how we communicate within a binary, right versus wrong framework. And a central question is not whether we can hold one another accountable, but how we can ever forgive.”

If anything, “cancel culture” is the precursor to the death of democracy.  It’s a form of censorship. That smells to me of something that a dictator or fascist would do: not a person who believes in the tenets put forth in our constitution. 

“Cancel culture or call-out culture is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”.[1][a] The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is commonly used in debates on free speech and censorship.[4]

“The notion of cancel culture is a variant on the term call-out culture and constitutes a form of boycotting or shunning involving an individual (often a celebrity) who is deemed to have acted or spoken in a questionable or controversial manner.”

Politicians get it the worst. My latest upset as you will read on is about Gavin Newsom. 

It upset me to see Andrew Cuomo canceled. I don’t see him as the monster he is accused of being. Perhaps these women who came forward should watch a few seasons of Law and Order: SVU and then decide if Cuomo fits the bill of someone worthy of canceling. In his defense he is of a generation of men who are touchy feely and perhaps these thin skinned woke women ( I have daughters so I’m sensitive to how women are treated) should have told him to his face to “behave himself, grow up, get a life, a girlfriend his own age, and it’s no longer 1960” and maybe even taken a knee to the balls if they felt so threatened rather than ruin his career and run their their mouths to the media. After all, he did see New York through the pandemic last year. 

It upset me in 2017 to see Al Franken canceled. He was an early victim of “cancel culture”. He wasn’t the monster ‘they’ made him out to be either. He was one of the best senators in Congress. It always seems to be the Democrats who get canceled. Donald Trump grabbed ‘pussy’ and was elected President. A few Republicans at the time tweeted their disapproval of such “talk”. And then it went away as the party fell in line, kissed his ring and had a “bizarre praising” ceremony in the White House. 

Now we come to yet another victim of political “cancel culture” and one close to home: Governor Gavin Newsom. He is being canceled by way of recall. So if California get’s lucky he won’t get canceled. I feel like I’m waiting for my favorite show to get renewed for another season. But until the recall election on September 14th we won’t know if his time in office is over. Newsom just signed the California Comeback stimulus plan – why is he being recalled? Let’s see what his transgressions are that over 20 million voters now have to be inconvenienced in a pandemic.  

“The recall petition was introduced in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in California. The reasons stated on the recall petition don’t actually have anything to do with Newsom’s handling of coronavirus.”

“The petitioners’ grievances include:

“Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens. People in this state suffer the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result. He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally over-ruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes and restricting parental rights.”

“Some critics say Newsom was too slow to reopen industries after the state crushed the curve in the spring of 2020. On the other side of the spectrum, some say Newsom wasn’t strict enough with shutdown measures, which lacked enforcement or consequences for rulebreakers.”

“The lightning rod came in November 2020 when it was revealed that Newsom attended a birthday party at the Michelin-starred restaurant French Laundry. The gathering included people from several different households and took place in an enclosed area – the type of gathering Newsom had been telling Californians to avoid.”

Seems to me like a few someone’s are throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something or anything sticks. 

This is impatient spoiled “cancel culture” at it’s finest because Newson only has 18 months left to his term. The impatience and the canceling has whiffs of the Republicans. To borrow a term from one of my heroes, Bill Maher, “whiny little bitches” who can’t pull up their boot straps and find a candidate to campaign against him the right way when his term is up. Instead, disrupt every resident in the state now for self-serving reasons and have a recall election a short year before the next election: shame on your spoiled asses! 

“If more than 50% of voters say no, Newsom continues as governor; his term ends on Jan. 2, 2023.”  

Fellow Californians, do the right thing and vote no

The list of replacements reads like a who’s who of the old fashioned White pages: anyone and everyone just decided to throw their name in for the fuck of it.  You would think they were buying lotto tickets. This is not the lottery people: this is the governor’s seat, it’s a job. 

“Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).[3]

If more than 50% of voters say yes, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the replacement candidates — no matter how few and even if they don’t win a majority — will become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom’s term. 

I have visions of Season 1 Episode 2 of the Beverly Hillbillies: a fish out of water moving into the governor’s mansion. 

Do you have to vote on both parts?

No, you can vote on just one or the other — and your vote still counts. For example, you can vote against removing Newsom on the first question, but also skip choosing a potential replacement (which is what Newsom and party leaders are telling Democrats to do).

But if I oppose recalling Newsom, can I still pick a replacement candidate?

Yes, a vote on the second question won’t invalidate or affect your vote on the first.   

So fellow Californians, if you want your state to fall into the hands of a bungler or if you want the Kardashians to move to Sacramento (an emetic thought) after your current governor just signed into law a $100 billion stimulus that will benefit your sorry asses then you deserve to be shipped off to Louisiana (considered one of the worst states).  

But it’s not about you, it’s about the good people who have sense and are practical and will vote for Newsom to stay. 

Or better yet pull up your boot straps and find someone the right way to run against Newsom in a year. It’s better than having any Tom, Dick, or Caitlyn trying their hands in politics – simply because Newsom is the current victim of “cancel culture”. 

It’s my life that this recall is fucking with and I don’t like it.  So for those who want him out, you move instead. We need him and not you. 


Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters)

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