If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a couple dozen times: Politics and hypocrisy are strange bedfellows.
Any of us who toe ideological lines have some hypocrisy in us — regardless of who you are, which party you ascribe to, or how partisan or non-partisan you may be.
For example, I’m opposed to the increased interference and regulations of “Big Government,” yet I’m also opposed to abortion-on-demand and favor government regulations to restrict abortions. That’s hypocrisy.
In American politics, the left routinely rails against the right for the conservatives’ supposed closed-mindedness, divisiveness and hatefulness because of a hesitance to fully embrace the LGBT movement. Yet, the self-proclaimed “party of unity” also routinely lashes out against Christians and promotes divisive public policies towards Christians and others who don’t embrace the same social standards they do. That, too, is hypocrisy.
In recent years, there’s been no greater example of hypocrisy in politics than the backlash against “cancel culture.”
Just ask GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.
Cancel culture is real. And it’s disturbing. We’ve transformed ourselves from a nation where dissenting voices are encouraged into a nation where being the voice of dissent can increasingly cost you your social status, your job and your livelihood. The so-called “woke” mobs use the influence of the mainstream media — with which they have firmly allied themselves — and the power of the new, alternative, partisan-driven media of the digital era to create an environment in which everyone must conform to what is considered politically correct … or else.
At the center of the war being waged over cancel culture are American conservatives. Republicans cast themselves as the last true defenders of free speech while vehemently denouncing the left for its efforts to bulldoze anyone who dares speak out on issues with stances that it and its allies deem socially unacceptable.
That’s not a bad thing. If American democracy is to survive as we know it, people have to stand up against cancel culture. The path we’re currently on is going to ruin us, and perhaps more quickly than we think.
The only problem is that most Republicans aren’t immune to this newfound desire to silence those dissenting voices, no matter the cost. When Netflix added a film that was highly offensive to Christians, conservatives responded by canceling their Netflix subscription. (I did, too.) When Dollar Shave Club spoke out against law enforcement officers, conservatives responded by canceling their Dollar Shave Club membership. (I did, too.)
Republicans would tell you, of course, that they’re standing up for values by dumping corporations that espouse views they wholeheartedly reject … and that this behavior is different from going after individual Americans and trying to tear them down for saying something that goes against the status quo. And they’re not wrong. This reasoning was precisely why I canceled Netflix and Dollar Shave Club. I don’t want my hard-earned money to help fuel an anti-Christianity or anti-law enforcement campaign. That’s not so much cancel culture as it is principle.
But that doesn’t make Republicans any less hypocritical, because you don’t have to search very hard to find plenty of conservatives doing the same thing that they harshly criticize Democrats for.
Which brings us to Liz Cheney’s ouster from her GOP leadership position.
House Republicans last week voted — as expected — to strip Cheney of her leadership role. It was an anti-climatic vote with lots of reasoning offered by members of the House GOP. But all that reasoning boiled down to one simple truth: Liz Cheney was targeted because she dared to speak out against former President Donald Trump.
Since Trump suddenly became a conservative darling in 2016, Republican voters have denounced anyone who dares speak out against him. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. The late U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. And, perhaps most ferociously, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
But hypocrisy took on new meaning last week, with the move to cancel Cheney simply because Cheney dares to speak out against the former president.
Cheney has firmly denied that the November 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump, she has harshly denounced the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, and she is steadfast in her resolve to prevent her party from ever again nominating Trump for president.
For that, she was canceled.
The Republicans did what they proclaim to hate more than anything else. They embraced “cancel culture.” The Congressional GOP formed its very own alt-woke mob.
Never mind that Republicans are on the wrong side of history. Democrats currently have control of the U.S. Senate and — should they decide to hit the nuclear switch and eliminate the filibuster at any point before Republicans regain the upper chamber — that enables them to push through their agenda without obstacle. Let’s not forget that to take the Senate, Democrats had to win not one but two Senate seats in Georgia in run-off elections. Had Republicans focused on those run-offs — and not on Trump’s narrative of a stolen election — there’s a very good chance Republicans, not Democrats, would control the Senate today. They didn’t do that, and if they continue to focus on Trump’s stolen-election theme and his attempts to weaken the Republican Party by targeting its leadership (like Mitch McConnell), they will fail to win control of the House in the 2022 midterms. And, perhaps, pave a road from the Naval Observatory to the White House for Kamala Harris in 2024.
But all of that is really here nor there. The key take-away from the Republicans’ decision to oust Liz Cheney is that they’re engaging in staggering hypocrisy. The efforts to strip Cheney of her role in Congress because of something she said are no different than efforts to fire a high school football coach because of something he said, to fire a game show host over years-old tweets, or to fire a blogger over a political opinion.
It’s quite ironic, isn’t it?