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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
When the Stasi knocks, it’s not just on Paula Dean’s door.
A 15-year-old girl in Virginia celebrated a milestone in her life the way most kids do these days, with a quick social media post. She’d earned her learner’s driving permit and was ready to taste the freedom of the American road. She logged onto SnapChat, which is supposed to be the ephemeral social media platform, and sent a 3-second clip of herself to friends quoting a rap lyric: “I can drive, (n-word)!”
Had the girl been black, this would’ve been the end of it. Black kids use the n-word among themselves every single day and rap lyrics — listened to by kids and adults of all racial backgrounds — use the word incessantly, repeatedly, in song after song. There’s Rick Ross’ “Drive a (N-word) Crazy,” which has been racking up views on YouTube for five years. Earlier this year, Young Dolph and Megan Thee Stallion collaborated on “RNB,” which uses the n-word dozens of times. It’s had 11 million views just in the past few months. Kids dance to these songs and thousands like them, singing the lyrics, on TikTok every single day. Urban Dictionary even has an entry for “driving like a (n-word).”
The girl wasn’t black. She was a white, blonde cheerleader from an upscale family. The clip she sent to her friend got sent to another schoolmate, Jimmy Galligan. Galligan’s father is white, his mother is black. He saved the clip, as he told the New York Times, to use strategically at some point against the girl like racial revenge porn. The Times reported both sides but leaned into his side of the story, giving him the last word.
He stalked her on social media for years, waiting for just the right moment to strike.
Three years have passed since the girl sent the 3-second clip to her friend, and she graduates high school, gets accepted to the University of Tennessee Knoxville and earns a place on the cheerleading team there. When the George Floyd riots broke out in the summer of 2020, the now 18-year-old girl who was soon headed to college posted to social media in support of Black Lives Matter and their protests. That’s when her life fell apart. Someone she didn’t know clapped back at her for daring to support black lives when she used to use the n-word in a SnapChat video. Horrified, she searched and found that Galligan, with whom she’d been friendly during high school, had posted the three-year-old clip to multiple social media channels just to hurt her — to “teach her a lesson” about using that word. The fact that she’d already apologized years ago didn’t matter, the fact that she was just a kid didn’t matter, and neither did the fact that kids are raised knowing the word is forbidden for some but used by many, creating cultural confusion.
It was all reminiscent of the #hasjustinelandedyet life-destroying social media pile-on of 2013. Then as now, the social media mob, once triggered, would not stop until it had swept through and destroyed the life of a total stranger. Tomorrow or the next day, the mob will be set to destroy another life, and it will do so without remorse. This is a social media police state: Step out of line and it will hunt you down. One could argue that Justice Sacco was the first victim of cancel culture.
Galligan’s post worked as he intended. The social media mob attacked the girl and went after the university at once, shaming her and threatening the university for accepting her. The cheerleading team dropped her. The university pressured her into rejecting its acceptance, telling her and her parents that it couldn’t guarantee her safety on campus.
Galligan is proud of what he’s done, and why wouldn’t he be? He has been raised in a culture that cancels first and asks questions (maybe) later. Our media celebrated the #hasjustinelandedyet incident and hired one of its architects. Galligan has been raised in an academic setting in which educators indoctrinate and deliberately avoid teaching the long bloody history of the 20th century’s first cancel culture SJW monsters: Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. Between them they canceled and killed millions in Ukraine, China, and Cambodia. Today’s cancel kids have been raised and indoctrinated by our schools to be their merciless moral monster heirs, not the heirs of the free and open society America has striven to be for more than 200 years. They know they’ll get a pat on the head for talking and revenge-taking as Galligan did from the Times. They might even get a plum media job.
The New York Times and the university together represent the cancel culture’s nearly unchallengeable pillars of power. What chance does a young girl have against the alleged “paper of record” on the one hand and a huge taxpayer-funded university on the other, with a mob baying for her banishment?
She’s pushed out of her education and out of the cheerleading place she’d earned because someone wanted revenge and understood the power of the social media mob. Cancel culture is really just revenge by another name — in this case revenge on a young girl who had nothing to do with the wrongs of the past, taken out by a young man who never even lived through the wrongs of the past.
Both kids live in the freest, most open society in human history, yet are divided by a leftist culture that deliberately incubates hate. With this truth in mind, what hope is there for reconciliation, ever?
None, as long as the mentality that hashtagged one woman’s career-ending tweet and Jimmy Galligan’s vengeance mindset remain dominant. People such as this, the media who encourage them, and the universities that create the cancel monsters and then help them steal others’ futures are the new social media police state, and they are all coming for you and your children.
Either we as a society cancel the vengeance-minded cancel culture, or that culture cancels our liberty, and eventually, an untold number of lives. Coexistence with cancel culture is not possible if the barest and most basic human freedom is to survive.
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