The Problem With Cancel Culture
We all have disagreements with each other. There are no two people who are identical in their beliefs and thoughts. However, as we gather into liberal and conservative groups, and shut each other down, what do we gain?
The excellent book “Crucial Conversations” by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan would ask what our goals are. If our goals are to persuade people to join our side of the fight, and to win votes, are we doing so by stepping into Cancel Culture or what the book calls “silence or violence”? If we wish to bring voters over to our side, Cancel Culture does not help us.
Democracy is messy, and there will always be a certain level of “silence or violence” involved in democratic debates and elections. However, we have to remember that the very best tools for winning people over to our own side are not showy, or heavy handed. They are instead calm, rational discussions where respect is freely offered for both sides.
It’s common, these days, to hear politicians call for the boycott or cancelling of a person, company, or anyone who happens to agree with a certain idea. Sometimes they can temporarily boost their popularity by calling people names, and trying to make an enemy out of them. However, these are short term tactics, used in a premeditated manner, designed to boost their popularity just enough to win an election. Of course, to a certain extent, we expect them to point out weaknesses in their opponents plans and/or character. But if this becomes how each of us relate to those who disagree with us, we lose the ability to have meaningful conversations.
We’ve heard people say that “I try talking to them, but it is just no use” or “they are simply impossible, they just don’t listen to reason”. And certainly there are some people who are harder to talk to than others. But as a general rule, if we do more listening, and less talking; ask more questions, and attack less, then we will be in a better position to know what ideas and concepts will be more persuasive to them. Most people will likely not turn a full 180, and completely change sides in their life times, let alone after a few short talks. However, that doesn’t mean people are completely static either. People can and do change all the time. And the better we understand each other, the better we are situated to both be persuasive and to find solutions that work for all of us.
This fall, vote for United Utah Party Candidates. These candidates have shown to be very capable at understanding both sides of issues, and working to find the best solutions for all of us.