A Culture Canceled

Chris Arnade:

The current debates over cancel culture are odd because few involved in them have been canceled, or risk being canceled, while entire institutions are indeed being canceled. Institutions that serve and amplify the interests of the working class, such as local newspapers, unions, and churches.

The death of local journalism is at least acknowledged by those involved in the debate as a problem. They are rightly concerned that newspapers focusing on local news being replaced by far away conglomerates hurts “left-behind” communities since it closes a forum where their issues could be heard, elevated, and addressed.

Getting less attention is the death of churches and unions. Lower income neighborhoods are littered with boarded up versions of both, a result of America’s embrace of a noxious mix of centralized economic power and de-centralized personal freedom.

Both are essential in giving power to the working class, providing them communities where they can go to be heard, and have any needs acknowledged, and perhaps brought to a higher authority to be solved.

In churches it is the prayer request that is the opportunity to ask for help. In an evangelical church in Tulsa I heard newer immigrants ask for prayers about help untangling the endless documents needed to become a citizen. In Dubuque I listened to a man ask for prayers for his car troubles that becomes a conversation about financial advice. In Reno a prayer for a sick relative turned into a discussion about healthcare. After church is over, all are surrounded by other congregants offering tangible advice and help drawn from their own experiences