It’s About More Than Politics
Open Letter to Terry Pluto, sportswriter and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.
Dear Mr. Pluto,
Thanks for your column yesterday on cancel culture. I agree that we all can and should be more tolerant of each other as people.
Yet there are destructive ideas and philosophies that hurt people that I hope you would be okay cancelling. I think there are a lot of people who are passionate about cancelling destructive things, not people, and I’m afraid that politics is the appropriate forum in which ideas, philosophies and “things” that impact people get debated.
I’m sorry you don’t do politics, and I can understand how you have come to view it as toxic. But politics in the United States is no longer about a difference of opinion; it has become a venue for vetting very seriously different perspectives on morality in this country, and you and I both know there is not a religious tradition in the history of the world that doesn’t teach its followers to lead what it defines as a moral life.
So, let’s not have a political discussion, and let’s forget about cancelling people. I’m good with that. Let’s have a discussion about morality or even religion, and as such, I have no problem at all with people that are emotionally energized and committed to cancelling things like racism, xenophobia, poverty, misogyny, religious intolerance, human suffering, white supremacy, greed, self-dealing, authoritarian governance, corruption, gun violence, voter suppression and homophobia, among other things. These are moral issues, not political ones.
So, to the extent that political polarization has made moral and value systems in this country crystal clear, to me that is not toxic at all and is fact a very good thing. It has little to do with opinion and has everything to do with having a moral system.
And while I try hard not to judge others, I will fight like hell for a moral system underlying our political system in our country that values compassion, human rights, opportunity for all, peaceful dissent, voting rights, diversity, equality, tolerance, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and prosperity and good health for all our people and our planet.
So, I think the political polarization we see is not so much about differences of opinion as it is about differences in morality and how people are valued, or not. What needs to be canceled are ideas and belief systems that not only turn a blind eye to human suffering but actually create it, and as a person of faith that writes a column about faith I hope you would agree that’s not a desirable thing, right?
Take care. I have always loved your work.