Minnesota column prompts cancel culture

We learn so much just by living life. Yesterday, for example. I found out that the monthly freelance column a California-based magazine asked me to write is no longer wanted. This decision comes after I wrote about a Minnesotan who is working hard to help the black community, and in the process, every community, regardless of demographics. I thought I was doing a good thing by highlighting all his hard work. 

I was wrong. At least, I must be wrong in “their” eyes. But before I dive into that, let’s start at the beginning. 

About a half decade ago, I was living in Colombia and I pitched some story ideas to an online magazine based in Silicon Valley. It’s called OZY. I had been reading it since its birth in 2013 and liked that they dared to be edgy. My focus was the underworld of Colombia, the stuff you see on Netflix, and I got some good stories. I put myself in real danger but, man, it was thrilling. 

To challenge myself even further, I went to Cuba and snuck around on a tourist visa. I didn’t want to tell the Cuban government my true purpose, to keep the commies from following me the whole time I was there. Again, another good story came out of it. 

Now let’s fast forward to 2021. I’m about to become an editor at Center of the American Experiment and I decide to cash in my political capital by proposing a conservative column for OZY, to fill a void they have had. “We’ve been looking for conservative voice,” Deputy Editor Tracy Moran said and she connected me with Daniel Molloy, the political editor. 

For Daniel, I wrote a great piece on Kendall Qualls and how his mantra of faith, education and family values is just what racially-conflicted Minneapolis needs in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent Derek Chauvin trial. The same day my column runs, I get a message from Tracy, asking me to change my job title on LinkedIn “to more honestly reflect my involvement with OZY” because “you’re not a full-time writer.” No big deal, I thought. Freelance writer is fine. 

However…

Two thoughts came to mind:

  1. Illegally traipsing through a communist country to sidestep its forbidden free speech laws is ok, and witnessing murders in another country for the benefit of a new magazine’s readers is ok and not enough to spark a revision of my job title.
  2. But writing about an upstanding citizen like Kendall Qualls? Not ok. 

Our finance director, Charlie Nickoloff, made some salient points about the backlash. 

“You wrote about a black community activist who doesn’t want to depend on government programs, you wrote about God, and you wrote that Democrats have failed the black community,” he said. “Basically, you hit every rail.” 

We had a good laugh and then I moved on to write my next column, something that would be critical of President Joe Biden. But before I could finish it, Daniel, my editor, moved on to take a great opportunity with a think tank that focuses on international affairs. I finished the column shortly thereafter and reached out to both his replacement and Tracy. A half dozen emails inquiring about the Biden column — and asking for permission to write about this misguided #StopAsianHate movement — went unanswered over the span of six weeks. 

Finally, after a terse email in which I told Tracy I needed an answer about those issues, I got a response. Well, half of one. She asked me to again send the Biden column but ignored the Asian hate topic. After all, what would I know? I’m only Japanese, which, last I checked, is Asian. Then I realized, maybe it’s because I’m only half Japanese. I suppose my caucasian half is my white oppressor. 

Regardless, I was still intent on getting the Biden column posted. At American Experiment’s annual dinner, featured speaker Laura Ingraham told everyone about the need to lift up freshmen conservatives in Congress and my column did just that, as Montana Representative Matt Rosendale took the time to talk to me — spoiler alert! — about the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

That all dissipated last night. Tracy sent me an email that said, “We’re not running many features these days so I’m going to have to pass.” I went to OZY’s website. The homepage has a features section on the right rail. Looks like it’s still a prominent part of the magazine. 

I responded to Tracy, asking about her prior request that I update my LinkedIn page. No response. And I don’t expect one either. I will give OZY credit for having conservative-leaning guests such as Megyn Kelly, and recently, Condaleeza Rice, on The Carlos Watson Show. But it feels hollow now, like when Politifact tagged Barack Obama for its Lie of the Year for saying, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” 

Much like the millions of Americans who couldn’t do that, I wasn’t able to keep something as well, although my column is not nearly as important as health care. Here’s what is crucial, though: The need for conservatives to stand up to cancel culture and leftist policies. Our country depends on it. And in a bid for bipartisanship, I will say that Republicans don’t get a free pass just because a capital R follows their name. Just ask Tim Pawlenty what he thinks about Isaac Orr

So I implore everyone to stand on the side of freedom. Or we will lose all the best qualities the Founding Fathers bestowed upon us when they came up with this crazy concept known as America. 

Editor’s note: OZY responded shortly after this article was posted. Deputy Editor Tracy Moran said she is now willing to work with me to get the column posted but I declined for two reasons:

  1. She implied that she didn’t realize I was talking about the Biden column. I find that hard to believe, considering I asked about it a half dozen times.
  2. She made clear my column would not be monthly, the frequency agreed upon when Daniel Molloy was my editor.

I hate to burn bridges or, in this case, blow them up with C-4, but as the great Bill Belichick likes to say: “It is what it is.”