Here is the problem. My entire academic/literary community in Michigan has now cancelled and shunned me. I didn’t try to argue any specific policy ever–just that we should have universities with free exchange of ideas. They knew from my memoir I was a libertarian type and while not necessarily a Trump fan, I was against socialism and more than anything this cancel culture/censorship, control of information.
How on earth can we have a free republic if we can’t have debate.
My writing mentor, a man I love has told me to never ever contact him again, that we had nothing in common. I wrote back that he was doing what his father had done to him. Disowned him when he was against the Vietnam War and his father died with never again speaking.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a dear friend who voted for Joe Biden. I would never ever say anything like that to her and she wouldn’t say it to me. But I acknowledge it makes it hard to be close the way we were. And I said so. And here is why. If she (and my mentor) would stand up for my right to be heard, for my voice, I think we’d be fine. This censorship and brainwashing going on at universities essentially ruined my career and my identity.
But neither of them will.
They actually believe I should be silenced and shunned. Well, my mentor thinks I should be demonized and shunned. I don’t think my other close friend thinks I should be demonized or shunned, but I think she must think I should be silenced because she hasn’t said I shouldn’t be.
And suddenly we have no right to our own bodies and decisions about our own health, either.
Freedom of all sorts is disappearing in America.
It felt my mentor stabbed me in the heart and wouldn’t respond to any of my logical appeals. Here is a guy who titled his book about his desire to “be heard.” How does a writer not take the position, “I may disagree with every word you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.” It’s hard to believe anyone doesn’t understand this concept and that was the only argument I made, so hard to believe we don’t have that in common. It’s the one thing, again, we do have in common. Or should have in common if we live in a free society. The rest can be argued out, compromised, balanced.
So I agree that if he thinks I should be silenced as he obviously does, we indeed have nothing in common.
There should be open debate on every university campus in this country. And public universities should publish more than one political point of view.
I do understand that these days people see the world so differently. But I’d be on the streets fighting along side him if they were censoring or cancelling him. Obviously, if you are never hearing anyone who disagrees with you, something is wrong and you are not living in a free society.
This seems to me to be the one thing that should unite us, but you actually hear news people arguing that all speech should not be “free.” That speech they disagree with is now “hate speech.” Wow. And who decides? It’s like 1984. Who is the arbiter of Truth now?
I’m very tired. This virus, all these health problems, politics in the world today. My career and world have been turned upside down. But I have to say it felt better to take a stand than to be quiet about what was happening. Being I think the only conservative fiction writer in Michigan, I was careful about talking politics in academic settings, knowing I was in a minority. And then I started speaking up about censorship.
And of course, I’ve been cancelled.
But I won’t be quiet.
If we don’t exercise our rights, we’ll lose them. Though I’ve paid a huge personal price.
Other friends hang up on me and call me evil. Call me up and then hang up on me. Mind you. That’s amazing.
So as painful as all that is/was, (and I couldn’t even talk–I was so devastated I just went to sleep for a bit) I feel better about speaking out about it.