What do separate conversations about censorship and cancel culture reveal about Americans’ sense of belonging.

Of the people, for the people, by the people… citizens, voters, elected officials… censorship and cancel culture. 

The First Amendment established the right of freedom of speech.  Embedded in the amendment is the term “redress of grievances”.  William believes this term is often misinterpreted to mean that freedom from censorship should be expected to occur without fear of punishment or reprisals from “titled” or “career” members of the government.  Further, he is concerned that cancel culture is a form of public censorship that is allowing for the informal prosecutions of one’s peers on social media or pop news broadcast following disagreeable images or statements that simply illustrate poor taste or lack of wisdom.  This suggests to William a perceived separation of the “people” from the “government” that is inconsistent with the ideals of democracy.  William is worried about what this reveals about Americans sense of belonging. 

Under the topic of radical inclusion in Martin E. Dempsey’s book No Time for Spectators, he asserts that “belonging is the most basic of human instincts… [and] in an environment of ubiquitous information, intense scrutiny, and rapid change, it is harder for leaders to lead and to create a sense of belonging within their teams…. for those reasons… it is harder for followers to know how to follow.  The result is that fewer of us experience the safety and comfort that comes with a sense of belonging”.  General Dempsey’s writing continues with discussion focused on the “leader-follower” relationship and he shares several anecdotes.  William’s take away from these passages is that “followers” are in fact some of the most modest, unrecognized leaders and that the full success of the team/country is dependent upon followers to be more then passive observers.  It is the leaders’ responsibility to empower followers to take control of their own leading roles in a form of organized succession.

To bring this full circle, William is concerned the disconnect of “the people” from “the government”’ illustrated through separate discussion on censorship and cancel culture is a symptom of the diagnosis that Americans increasingly feel a lack of a sense of belonging and are disoriented in their duties to their country.  Further, William believes this illustrates a failure of leadership that begins at the national level.  Senators and members of the House of Representatives must be called upon to foster new generations of leaders and to make their official time of service extend only for a limited number of terms.  The congressional leaders who have assigned to themselves lifetime appointments should be required to bring them to an end.  Finally, congressional leadership must share the prosperity of national success equitably with the people of the country who have supported them in their duties by becoming active followers.                    

“Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good.” 

— Alexander Hamilton FEDERALIST No. 1.