Opinion: Even in New Haven, no escape from 'cancel culture'

Members of various Italian-American heritage clubs and societies in the New Haven area and supporters from Bridgeport put up a wreath, a sign and an Italian flag in 2020 at the pedestal of the removed statue of Christopher Columbus on Wooster Square Park in New Haven to commemorate Columbus Day.

Members of various Italian-American heritage clubs and societies in the New Haven area and supporters from Bridgeport put up a wreath, a sign and an Italian flag in 2020 at the pedestal of the removed statue of Christopher Columbus on Wooster Square Park in New Haven to commemorate Columbus Day.

Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media

The success of our American republic is our ability to discuss and debate the great issues of the day. It is not that we all must conform to one view of the world. The Constitution of the United States is designed to protect the liberty of the individual against a tyranny of the state or the masses.

Unfortunately, today’s left does not see the value of individual liberty, but rather they value a conformity to a set of politically correct ideas. From Dr. Seuss to Mr. Potato Head, no one or no thing is safe from the left’s wrath. Nationally, we are seeing a purge of anything the left finds offensive. You can no longer watch The Muppet Show without enduring a warning about potentially offensive content. Countless celebrities have had their careers threatened or destroyed for the crime of expressing a “wrong” opinion, or even for not condemning someone else’s wrong opinion. Just look to Chris Harrison or Sharon Osbourne for examples of the latter.

New Haven has not been spared from this radical wave of public shaming left-wing cleansings. There is an empty pedestal at the end of Wooster Square Park because a radical mob insisted that Christopher Columbus be removed. Apparently the 15th century explorer did not comply with 21st century standards and had to be removed from public sight. A book by Howard Zinn, a socialist scholar of the last century, finally got the mob going in the year 2020 and Columbus was gone. Yale changed the name of one of their residential colleges because John Quincy Adams’ vice president, John C. Calhoun was now found to be offensive. The latest pending purge in New Haven is by far the most bizarre, The Amistad Academy.

There is currently a push to change the name of the Amistad Academy because opponents note that The Amistad was the name of a “slave” ship. I am fairy certain that the academy was not named after the slave ship, but rather the Amistad incident. At some point over the Atlantic Ocean the Amistad ceased being a slave ship when the slaves freed themselves and killed the ship’s captain. The former slaves were held in New Haven, but later found to have acted legally and were freed by the United States Supreme Court in a case that was successfully argued by former President John Quincy Adams.

The Amistad is a source of pride for New Haven because it represented a victory in the fight against slavery. Sadly, today’s left wing mob cannot process complex thought. Yes, La Amistad was a slave ship, but it became a symbol of the fight against slavery. The Amistad would probably have remained a historical footnote had that had it not been for that radical right wing director Steven Spielberg turning the event into a movie. (Please note that this is sarcasm, just in case any members of the left wing mob are reading this.)

It would be easier to dismiss this national craziness of cancel culture if it were not so close to home. If you don’t conform, the woke mob will come for you.

Recently, I just met my neighbor from across the street. Having never met this man, he introduced himself and loudly insisted that I take down my Trump flag. Obviously a fan of cancel culture, he felt that my display of a political opinion was an affront to democracy, progressivism and the neighborhood.

While I am purposely insulting progressivism, I must disagree with the other two parts of the above statement. Political disagreement is what our republic is based on, it is not something that should be purged from our neighborhood or society.

We need stand up for our history and our liberty. If we don’t, we will lose our identity as a country and as a freedom-loving people. We cannot allow the most easily offended among us to terrorize the rest of us.

In the spirit of being a good neighbor I realized that my Trump flag was a little tattered, so I replaced it with a new “Trump 2024” flag. I hope this helps makes the neighborhood a better place.

Dr. Frank J. Mongillo III lives in New Haven.