Links: Canceling untruths; censures show which way the wind blows

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The Oval Office at the White House in Washington Jan. 21, 2021 (CNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
The Oval Office at the White House in Washington Jan. 21, 2021 (CNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Back when conservatives had principles, one of their principal worries, and not without merit, was moral relativism. Now? Can we expect outrage at Sen. Rand Paul's unwillingness to say to George Stephanopoulos on ABC Sunday that the election was not stolen? Or to the final fact-checking report on former President Donald Trump from The Washington Post, which recorded 30,573 false or misleading claims while he was in office? Maybe it is time to revisit another conservative concern in times past: defining deviancy down.

I sure hope Sen. Josh Hawley does not give up irony for Lent. He has penned an article for The New York Post denouncing cancel culture, warning that the First Amendment right to free expression is profoundly threatened, that America is being muzzled. The editors gave Hawley's column the entire front page! I hope someone will muzzle me so that I can get the entire front page of one of the largest newspapers in the country. I am not allergic to the concern that some on the left forget about the importance of our First Amendment rights, but the problem with Parler, the conservative social media site that Amazon and other web hosts will no longer facilitate, is not a problem of free speech. I do not pretend to understand the technological part of the discussion, but it seems that Parler had rigorous algorithms to prevent any porn from getting on their site but couldn't be bothered devising similar ones to prevent violent white supremacists and other domestic terrorists from using the site to mount their assault on the Capitol building and attempted insurrection. In this litigious society of ours, all sorts of companies make decisions to avoid liability. Parler should not be exempt.

In Arizona, the state's Republican Party is now the Trump Party, after the state convention publicly censured Gov. Doug Ducey because he refused to join Trump's effort to overturn the election results in the state. The convention also censured Trump critics former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. I am thinking that the Democrats are looking at 2022 in the state and liking their odds.

In The New York Times, Ezra Klein offers some very smart advice to the Democrats: Help people and do it quickly. They will probably need to eliminate the extra-constitutional filibuster to act on that advice or else they will forever be at the mercy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The filibuster is a relic of a different era. It is time for it to go.

In The Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, who is no liberal, deftly analyzes one of the principal moral conundrums of the moment: People like McConnell and former Vice President Mike Pence really did step up at the last minute and help save democracy, but they were complicit for four years in getting us to the point where it needed saving. Hiatt is right that the real heroes are the election officials in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan who refused to participate in Trump's coup attempt. If that is not enough of a conundrum, think about this one: How would the post-election drama have played out if the Democrats had not controlled the House of Representatives, that is, if the Congress might actually have been in a position to throw out the votes from swing states?

Need a bit of good news? At Politico, Anthony Clark thinks Trump will never take on the arduous work needed to build a presidential library. From his lips to God's ears. Can you imagine what bad taste a Trump presidential library could contain?

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn wants to make "Lift Every Voice and Sing" the national hymn. It is an inspired suggestion, not least because our current one, "God of Our Fathers," always comes out as very militaristic. From "Religion Unplugged," here are two extraordinary and very different renditions of the hymn along with some fine commentary about why it works so well. And, if you are still not convinced, here is how it sounds as a hymn sung in church, presumably the place a national hymn will most likely be sung, with the choir and congregation at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, Maryland singing it.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" on Metropolitan Baptist Church's YouTube channel, Jan. 27, 2009

Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.


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