One of the most covered news items lately has been “cancel culture.”

That movement, for lack of a better term, wants to eliminate everything it feels is offensive to our society, or more precisely to them: monuments, statues, books, news reports.

This is our country, and not their country. This is our country, it is not perfect, but we like it here. We love our country, warts and all.

It is not up to those who don’t like our heritage and traditions to destroy public and private property just because they don’t like it. Most, if not all of these, have been around for a long time and enjoyed by a vast majority of people.

We have laws and procedures to make improvements and changes. Tearing down monuments, damaging and destroying is not part of it. Our government is a constitutional republic, a democracy, the rule by the majority. Cancel culture is a small group of people, small but very vocal and violent.

Who or what gave these people the authority to determine what is offensive and what is acceptable? While we, the American people, denounce hate, there is more and more hateful actions being seen everyday, by certain groups, including cancel culture.

Every citizen has rights, it is called the Bill of Rights. The right to peacefully protest is one of them. But there is no right to destroy what one doesn’t like. There are laws and procedures to make changes to what needs to changed. And a majority of the people must approve these changes, not a vocal few. Making demands is not part of this process. Honest, mature discussions, working together with citizens and legislative representatives is how our country improves life for all, without infringing upon the rights of anyone.

In a diverse country such as ours, different opinions and viewpoints are common, even expected. The key to freedom and liberty is mutual respect for everyone. We may not like a different viewpoint, we may find it offensive, but we need to respect other viewpoints. Something or someone being offensive is not legally unconstitutional. Having a different viewpoint or opinion may be offensive or insensitive — it might even be immoral — but certainly not illegal, and no one has the right to “cancel” it. Any more than someone else can “cancel” ours.

Everyone and everything has its good points and bad points, including societies and countries. It is the responsibility of the citizens to help the society improve, doing this in a legal, positive manner. Violent protests and destruction of public and private property won’t be tolerated by the majority of American citizens. With the continuation of canceling everything, our country is in store for more violence, rioting and destruction.

To put it another way, anarchy may destroy the very fabric of our society. Is this what the cancel culture really wants? There may be another group who will start a movement to cancel the current cancel culture. Then we’d have nothing short of a civil war. Maybe this is what they want.

So much for our freedom and liberty. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is for every citizen. The words “shall not be infringed” are the key to the rights of all Americans. Canceling what people don’t like is infringing on other people’s rights and their freedom.

Herb Dettmer is a retired Bowling Green resident, U.S. Army veteran and writes this column representing the viewpoint of “Joe Average” citizen. He is freelance writer and author of “Others,” a devotional book. Call or text “Joe” with comments at 419-494-4641.

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