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Santorum Spoke the Truth. CNN Can’t Handle the Truth. | RealClearPolitics


Cancel culture. It’s a term we throw around a lot these days, but it doesn’t become real until it hits you or someone you know — which is exactly what happened this past weekend when my friend Rick Santorum became cancel culture’s latest victim.

Let’s be clear, cancel culture is about control and intolerance. As CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, I’ve experienced the venom. The reality is that the left is insecure in its own principles and unable to defend its own positions, so it seeks to silence others. And the more effective one is in advocating, particularly for traditional American values, the more hateful the cancel culture becomes.

Which brings me back to Rick Santorum and the 25-year campaign to cancel him.

They first tried to silence him when he was a 38-year-old junior U.S. senator. Santorum took to the Senate floor to expose the barbaric procedure we now know as partial-birth abortion — at a time when no one else in Congress would do so. He passionately spoke for the innocent children who were never given the chance to speak for themselves, and he used the deafening cries of the unborn to end what liberal giant Daniel Patrick Moynihan called “infanticide.”

Not learning their lesson, those on the left continued their crusade to cancel Santorum when he fought to reform our welfare system, raise awareness of the injustice of fatherlessness in America, sound the alarm against the radical Islamist regime of Iran and defend our ally, Israel. Each time Santorum succeeded, and the woke mobs only got more desperate.

He used to joke that his children thought his first name was “ultra conservative” because that preceded his name in every article written about him. But let’s be real, the “unforgivable sin” committed by Santorum was his defense in 2012 (as the Republican presidential front-runner) of the institution of traditional marriage, a position also embraced previously by Barack Obama and both Bill and Hillary Clinton. But the left can’t be confused with the facts.

As a United States senator and then as a presidential candidate, Santorum continually defied the odds. As a CNN political commentator, he emerged as the network’s go-to Republican because of his ability to effectively communicate conservative principles and policies, the very thing that makes him dangerous to the woke mob.

Starting last fall, I always knew when Santorum was appearing on CNN – not because I watched the news channel, but because he would trend nationally on Twitter after every appearance.  The concerted campaign to cancel Rick Santorum had taken shape – led by some of Hollywood’s elite, Obama administration alumni, and the coastal intelligentsia.

Time and again, the left tried and failed to cancel Rick Santorum, but this past weekend the mob thought they had finally succeeded when CNN released him. Santorum’s crime? Saying Western European settlers founded the United States, and that they did so to establish a nation premised on freedom and liberty. 

I’m sure William Penn would be surprised to learn that he did not found Pennsylvania as a refuge for religious liberty. It would likely shock Thomas Jefferson to learn that he did not write the Declaration of Independence. And James Madison, newsflash, you’re not the Father of the Constitution.

Let’s be clear, giving credit where credit is due is not dismissive to others. It didn’t matter that Santorum proactively recognized that Native Americans were here first or that he soundly condemned the atrocities committed against them, comparing those acts to the treatment of African slaves. The cancel culture came for Rick Santorum; CNN capitulated, and the leftist mob celebrated.

Sadly, at the end of the day, everyone loses when we can no longer freely debate ideas.  American exceptionalism counts on the free market of ideas to create common ground. We can never bring ourselves together in a culture of fear and squelched debate. CNN is damaged and less interesting now that it no longer has Donald Trump as a straw man and fewer conservative voices to generate vigorous debate. 

CNN, “the most trusted name in news,” is apparently afraid of the truth, but it must be told. It’s time to become engaged. It’s time to stand up for our values and our country. It’s time to stop being silenced. As Rick Santorum said the night he defied the odds and won the 2012 Iowa caucuses, “Game on!”

Penny Young Nance is the CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. Follow her on Twitter @Pynance, Instagram @Pynance1, and Facebook. 




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