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Brianna Lock

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Cancel culture is described as "the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive." However, this "canceling" can extend beyond companies and public figures. More and more, the cancel culture is becoming personal.

If you think this cancel culture can't happen to you, I caution you to be wary. It can happen to anyone. Even if you feel like you're doing nothing wrong, simply expressing the views you have the complete right to express through your First Amendment rights, you too can be "canceled." It can happen instantaneously and without warning. I say this because it happened to me. One of my good friends of three years canceled me, just like that. Just because I liked a conservative tweet on Twitter. Just because politically, we are on opposing sides. And while we have always held different political beliefs in the past, it's never stood in the way of our friendship. However, in today's politically charged climate that promotes the cancel culture and silencing those that oppose or even question mainstream media beliefs, these differences suddenly justified an end to this friendship. This action came with no explanation at all. I was just "canceled."

If at some point, you too are confronted with this "cancel culture," I encourage you not to back down or submit to this bullying, mob-like mentality. Stand firm in your beliefs and never, ever apologize for having the beliefs and opinions you have. Having the freedom to express your thoughts and opinions is one of the greatest freedoms we hold in this country. I urge you not to let others guilt you into thinking otherwise. Even when it's difficult, please stand up for yourself. Stand up for what you hold dear before it's too late. Don't apologize. Don't back down. Don't let the bullies win and don't let them silence your voice. Your opinion is valid, despite what mainstream media, online bullies and even your friends and family might think. You have the right to express that opinion. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

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