No, Josh Hawley isn’t a victim of ‘cancel culture’ just because actions have consequences—at least in the free market
Sen. Josh Hawley has had an eventful couple of weeks. That’s… one way to describe it.
After being first to plan to oppose Joe Biden’s presidential victory and willingly indulging the beliefs that later inspired one of the most monumental displays of violence in the country’s history, he condemned the violence he played a part in inciting [but not before raising a fist in support of participants]. He then continued his push for an election overturn in the aftermath of the mess he helped make. As it turns out, attempted sedition for personal gain has consequences.
Following the events that quickly took the national spotlight at the U.S. Capitol, Loews Hotel Group changed its mind about hosting a Florida campaign event of his. Health care IT firm Cerner Corp will no longer donate to him and Hallmark Cards wants its money back. For a second there, it looked like he would be out of a book deal if it weren’t for conservative publishing company Regnery.
Other politicians, such as former Secretary of State Jason Kander, have plenty to say about Hawley. Even his own supporters are getting tired of him. Former Sen. John Danforth, a mentor of Hawley’s, now considers mentoring him to be “the worst decision” he’s ever made.
In the midst of all this, more Twitter users have come together to collectively rain on Hawley’s parade. That’s one silver lining we really love to see.
Some are calling the actions taken to stop supporting Hawley, financially or otherwise, an unjust product of “cancel culture”. The punishment Hawley faces from these decisions barely scratches the surface of a cancellation. The idea of cultural “cancellation” implies some degree of identity politics, wokeness, or somehow a performative undue punishment. This is the free market and private businesses responding to what they see as a violation of what it means to be American—and, by extension, a bad look for them to keep supporting. At the very least, they have the projected illusion of a backbone in an embarrassingly spineless world.
The fact that it’s possible to be impeached twice and still hold office demonstrates a lack of accountability for those on the right that Hawley will probably continue to benefit from. Even the supposed loss of a book deal holds significantly less weight when the new publisher of his book is a client of none other than the company who claimed to cancel him.
Truly, it is a shame that his book on digital censorship couldn’t benefit from the removal of Donald J. Trump from Twitter. A shame.
Either way, Hawley is not going anywhere. Without a path to recall senators in Missouri, he’s here to stay until 2024. In fact, he may eventually benefit from all the national attention he’s receiving now, as decrying censorship (the very subject of his book) lends itself to rallying-up financial support from Trump’s base. That leaves us a very small timeframe to enjoy the schadenfreude of smaller victories in watching businesses serve accountability that the rest of America seems incapable of extracting from him. It’s good to know that a flagrant attack on the foundation of democracy while calling yourself a “patriot” is still a deal-breaker for some.
And, as of publication, Hawley still has the power to work against the safety of the country at his whim. If only cancellation was a real thing, we’d all be in a better place.