ATLANTA — Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp has gassed up his pickup truck and grabbed his shotgun to battle an enemy laying waste to America: "cancel culture."
The Gov these days is putting on his stern face and happily making the media circuit to say he's furious that Major League Baseball nixed the All-Star Game in Cobb County. That happened, of course, after the state's GOP legislators and Kemp tightened up election laws to help protect their shrinking margins.
Now, there are few things as infuriating — and worrisome — as the woke Twitter mob coming after you. But Kemp stands unafraid. And he is not going to waste any time looking a gift horse in the mouth, which is exactly what this is. A gift.
"Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden and the left, but I am not," he said in a press conference last weekend after MLB's announcement. Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Co. had already come out against the law, yielding to pressure to do so.
And Kemp merrily made the rounds, especially on Fox News, using it as a golden moment to worm his way back into the Republican electorate's heart, which is still unhappy with him for not being strong enough in the Stop The Steal movement.
The Gov hopes a certain ex-president who spent months trying to cancel an election — AND cancel Kemp — is watching television down in Florida and perhaps rethinking his animus against Georgia's chief executive.
In fact, as Kemp extolled his fortitude in not being scared of Abrams (who actually came out against the boycott), Donald Trump was singing from the same hymnal: "For years the Radical Left Democrats have played dirty by boycotting products when anything from that company is done or stated in any way that offends them. Now they are going big time with WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and our sacred elections. It is finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back," Trump said on Saturday. "Don't go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them."
It has often been said: The best defense against canceling is to employ your own canceling.
To jump on this bandwagon, eight Republican state representatives, most of them new and obscure, stood up boldly — and very publicly — to demand that Coca-Cola products be "immediately" removed from their offices. The fact that the Cokes are provided to them for free is beside the point. Somehow, they believe, Coke will learn a lesson.
GOP conservatives have used the term cancel culture as a foil for a couple of years because, well, most everyone hates the idea of being canceled. And since we no longer have stocks and pillories for public shaming, we are left with canceling, which involves jumping on social media.
The activity is worse on the far left. They seem to go after their own with a special relish. But those on the right can feed off being "canceled." It helps build street cred and also allows those who've been canceled to cloak themselves in the robes of victimhood. I must add that the right is up to the task. Just ask the (no longer Dixie) Chicks.
The reason the right has embraced being offended by cancel culture is that most Americans are offended too. A recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll found 64% of respondents said cancel culture posed "a threat to freedom" in the U.S. That's 80% of Republicans and 48% of Democrats.
Of course, "canceling" is a loaded, pejorative term. If the pollsters asked about "boycotting" or "expressing disapproval" or "using one's First Amendment rights," the results would have been different.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution