Illinois Tries To "Cancel" DeSantis As Pritzker, Chicago Mayoral Contenders Play The De-Platforming Game
Submitted by Matt Rosenberg and Ted Dabrowski of Wirepoints
Cancel culture is alive and well in Chicago’s mayoral race. This time, it’s Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ turn to be “de-platformed.”
Mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is trying to cancel a meeting Monday in Elmhurst between Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed another challenger, Paul Vallas, and DeSantis. Garcia has demanded that Vallas “condemn” the FOP for hosting DeSantis, whom Garcia calls “a dangerous and xenophobic authoritarian.”
Governor J.B. Pritzker has joined in, stating of the FOP-DeSantis meet-up, “Every candidate hoping to hold public office in the Land of Lincoln should condemn this event.” That’s a rather hypocritical position for Pritzker who just two weeks ago, in a spat over school curriculums with DeSantis, appointed himself a champion of free speech.
Even worse, Vallas succumbed to the pressure and issued a press release condemning the looming meeting and parroting hard-left distortions of DeSantis’ socially-conservative positions. He added, “I wholeheartedly agree with Governor Pritzker that there is simply no place in Chicago for a right-wing extremist like Ron DeSantis, and I am disappointed in FOP leadership for inviting him to speak to officers.” It turns out the DeSantis campaign contacted the FOP about the event and asked the union to promote it to its members, which it did.
No matter. Vallas’ condemnation of the gathering isn’t for Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson. He’s called for Vallas to go even further and reject the FOP’s endorsement.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has also piled on. “Ron DeSantis has perfected being a bigoted, racist demagogue. But Paul Vallas is fast on his heels.”
All this as Chicago continues its descent into chaos and misrule. Rather than focus fully on the city’s Wild West streets and its failing schools, contenders for mayor want to play the de-platforming game.
Czar of permissible meetings
Here’s how it all unfolded. Make sure to follow the odd twists and turns.
Chicago’s FOP has endorsed Vallas, who stands out with a voluble law-and-order message at a time when Chicagoans must increasingly resort to armed self-defense because of a complete breakdown in public safety. Garcia’s “logic” is that, because of FOP’s Vallas endorsement, Vallas owns their words and actions. And the scheduled meeting between FOP members and DeSantis constitutes a forbidden act because DeSantis has angered progressives with his policies towards what he and many others in Florida see as overly racialized and overly sexualized curricula in public schools.
There’s one problem here. What exactly does any of this have to do with Chicago’s most urgent needs and priorities? Like black family disintegration, rising crime, and wearing the national murder crown for the 11th straight year?
Garcia’s fake outrage amounts to a declaration that, “As Mayor I will be Czar of Permissible Speech, and Permissible Meetings.”
Vallas’ submission to Garcia’s attempt to cancel DeSantis coming to Illinois is also reprehensible. You either stand up for free speech, free association, and free debate, or you don’t.
There’s something deeper going on here and it’s a national concern. Cancel culture has run amok. Watch the response of the go-along-to-get-along progressive orthodoxy when anyone challenges the narrative: paint them as intolerant, dangerous, beyond the pale, not to be tolerated. They must be “de-platformed,” is how it’s put lately. Ban or shadow-ban them from social media. Rally to disinvite them from speaking engagements at universities. Call their ideas “dangerous disinformation.”
One of the most succinct ways to advance a cancellation attempt now is to accuse someone of hateful speech. Flailing incumbent Lightfoot aired an ad calling her crime critics “haters.”
Lightfoot also aired an attack ad on Vallas suggesting – based on years-old interview footage – that he might be a Republican. But it’s results, policies and plans that matter. Not allegations that a Scarlet “R” belongs on someone’s forehead. A Garcia ad claimed Vallas is anti-abortion. But abortion is a state issue and abortion is legal under state law.
Cancel culture is a threat to democracy. The intent of it is to fence off discussions about government accountability for things like continuing violent crime or the failure of public schools to impart basic reading and math skills to students, especially black and Latino students. Under cancel-culture rules, vexing failures must always be described as due to “systemic racism” or “underfunding.” Case closed. Anyone who persists in a results-based critique runs the risk of a cancellation attempt – by being called “racist,” “classist,” or “far-right.”
Intimidation shortchanges us all. And remember this: those that engage in it inherently concede the bankruptcy of their arguments.
Unless Chicagoans, including politicians, stand up to authoritarian attempts at controlling political thought, political speech, and free association, the city will continue to inch – or more likely gallop – toward a political police state.
It can ill afford to do so.