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The provocative headline is only partially clickbait. Softening it for effect or to make myself look better won’t happen.
I want this one read, and read hard. I want the word “radioactive” associated with this story, and even with my name for the near-future, for boldly stating such “nonsense.” Why? Because I want you all to think, intently, where we’re headed.
And that means more to me than anything.
Disclosure first, if you’re new to my words. Anyone who reads my social media knows where I stand. I loathe Donald J. Trump, and everything he stands for. I believe the man to be an irredeemable con artist in every facet of his life, and his Presidency a maddening charade.
On a related note, I do not take kindly to all the world’s divisions conveniently defined or debated on social sites as a simple matter of right vs. left. One side says, “In truth, the Nazi Party was an outgrowth of the left.” The other side says, “The right is single-handedly responsible for all of the evils in this country.”
Well, the modern-day GOP in charge, maybe, but not the right in general.
I’m half-serious. Got it out of my system. I’m moving on.
Actor Tim Allen recently said, “There is nothing more dangerous than a likable conservative.” Indeed, the cancellation of Last Man Standing, his most recent sitcom, created a media firestorm over accusations that ABC’s ax fell due to the star’s conservatism. The show earned consistently good ratings and was a popular hit before confronting what some consider its premature end. Snopes picked up on the controversy, denying conservative finger-pointing that Allen’s political affiliations were the sole determining factor, if even a factor at all. It came down to, Snopes said, primarily a matter of money.
Even if this is the case, a cursory view of Twitter and Facebook feeds at the time punctuated the sheer jubilation many anti-Trumpers shared over the news. More accurately, over the rumored reason for the news.
"We won't stop until they're all out of work," one said.
And that is wrong. That is a scary wrong gang mentality.
On ABC’s upcoming Roseanne continuation (not quite a reboot), the iconic character is now a vocal Trump-supporter. Once that plot point was exposed, hate mail poured into the network feeds, many pleading for the series never to air.
This past weekend, I spotted this article linked on my Facebook page. The headline raised whatever hairs on my scalp I have left: Comic Convention Bans Christian Conservative Actor Kevin Sorbo For Friendship With Hannity.
I know Kevin, the former star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. We haven’t spoken in a couple of years, but there’s no animus. We lost contact. I shot him an email after I saw the above article. I said in the missive, though he and I are polar opposites politically, I stand by him in this debacle. The ban is horribly misguided. Kevin has long been a popular convention guest, and gracious to his fans. In that context, I don’t give a damn who his friends are.
Kevin was invited to the convention for reasons related to his career. And he was disinvited over his personal politics—which I personally find tough at times—but in this country, to now, an individual’s personal beliefs were supposed to be an inalienable right, and not something to be formally shunned.
Maybe I’m overreacting. I’m equating a pulled invitation to a comic book convention with a political party that murdered millions. When I equate Hitler’s Nazi party to such modern-day sensibilities, I am referring to the banning of art, and of artists. Then, and throughout history, artists have been eradicated over their ideas.
See Rushdie: Salman and The Satanic Verses, or better yet, read Joseph Anton for another, later equivalent as it regards the shunning of an artist.
I’ve been called a “troublemaker” on social media. I provoke conversation. It’s part of my brand. I’ve many wonderful people online, several of whom have become close personal friends. And they are of all stripes. Though vociferous in my own views, I always make the effort to be respectful to all. I do not believe any of us can co-exist without discussion.
For instance, for every shot I personally level at Trump, a supporter will bring up domestic consumer confidence and the booming economy “since he took office.” My simply swearing in response would not be effective, but bringing Obama’s legacy into the conversation will always juice the debate.
And yet, I see many on my political side blocking conservatives because, of course, “they’re all racists.” I have my own thoughts on the matter. Some are blinded by their hatred of Hillary. Some point to their bank accounts, or the increasing value of their real estate. The point is this: We need to continue to speak.
In the meantime, encouraging the banning of art and artists is no different than cheering for the extermination of free expression. People I know, both aspirants and professionals in the film and television businesses, cannot get hired for new work because they once posted something online that exposed their “unacceptable” ideologies. Friends of theirs have been pressured to consider “staying in the closet” as a necessity. This I cannot justify.
The Nazis once shunned free expression. Who’s shunning free expression now?
Us liberals, that’s who.
We need to be real fucking careful.