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I find myself mimicking the late NFL coach Denny Green to sum up how I feel about our country’s relationship with “woke” America.
Green was running the Arizona Cardinals when they suffered an upsetting loss to an undefeated Chicago Bears team in 2006. For those who don’t remember, the Cardinals were up 20-0 at home on Monday Night Football in a game they desperately needed to win. They wound up losing 24-23 in heartbreaking fashion.
At his presser afterward, Green said over and over that the Bears “are what we thought they were,” a refrain that became more frustratingly spoken each time he returned to it while reliving his team’s collapse just minutes earlier. Green got so worked up that he smacked the podium before letting out his final, most memorable line:
“They are what we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!”
So many of us are likely thinking the same thing about wokeness right now.
New reporting has exposed Black Lives Matter as the grift we always suspected it was. Its founders hoisted up the bodies of black men killed by white cops in order to guilt millions in donations toward the cause of racial injustice…only for them to take that money and purchase a lavish mansion in southern California. Meanwhile, their activists burnt down cities.
Proponents of gender ideology have revealed themselves to be firmly anti-woman and anti-family. We watched a “woman” win an NCAA championship race last month. Then, leaked videos of a meeting between Disney’s executives showed them vowing to infuse more LGBT content into its products for kids, much to the chagrin of conservative parents.
It’s been dead for a while, but it’s worth revisiting the utter sham that was the MeToo Movement that predated these more recent collapses. Once they mowed down true predators like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, the crusade turned its sights on any man who made a woman endure the horrors of a bad date or who happened to be a politically inconvenient Supreme Court nominee. It wasn’t until now-President Joe Biden had to face his own sexual assault allegations — once — that we all saw that the movement only cared about women when it benefitted one party’s goals.
Each “awakening” that we were supposed to have about our own flaws instead told us more about the self-interested figures preaching it. And we, the people, let them off the hook time and time again.
The question then is: why did we allow our reputation as the “land of the free” to be smeared by bad actors?
It’s revisionist history to say that because wokeness occupied the minds of our elite, and therefore, had immense cultural power, that we were forced to play along. No doubt there’s truth in that, but there was often sincere introspection on our part to assess if we were blind to something this group could see. The most American thing you can do is improve yourself, and by God, we took it as a challenge to root out any lingering sentiments of hate and discrimination that had diseased us before.
But again, it was more than that. We had lost our moral clarity.
The term “moral clarity” has been kicking around the culture for a while. It started during the Cold War to justify the U.S. position against the Soviet Union. It then made a resurgence during the Iraq War. The faulty premise of that invasion all but killed its conservative iteration, but it still lived on for liberals, if only in deed instead of word.
There was moral clarity in electing, and then re-electing, our first black president. There it was again when we uplifted women ahead of men in education. And what better example of its existence than our evolution on LGBT issues; gay marriage went from being beyond the pale barely a decade ago to us now letting drag queens read to kids at libraries.
We did this to prove to ourselves that we’d changed. If the Civil Rights movement was the death of straight, white, conservative America, then we had embarked on a 50-year project to demonstrate we were never going back. We did that in flying, rainbow colors. Yet, it seemed as if it was never good enough.
There was always another “conversation” to have, another statue to tear down, another value to rethink. When were we going to start building this new and improved America? The one thing that remained clear was that all the bad parts about old America — the race-based purity, the supremacy of one sex, the flagrant involvement in peoples’ love lives — were still around, only the characters were flipped. After a while, we realized we weren’t building anything new; we were taking revenge on anything, or anyone, who could be broadly seen as representative of our past life.
Biden’s presidency, as cursed as it is, has been a blessing in disguise for this reason. The virtuousness that’s guided our commitment to social justice is a thin veil for both a power grab and a reason to punish detractors. But the strength of its moral clarity is why we accepted cancel culture, the slow death of the middle class, and medical fascism to take hold. Just a few more sacrifices, we told ourselves, before we could finally cash in on that promise. A few more witches to burn, we’d say, and we could begin anew. Now we realize that you, and everything that makes you an individual, is a witch, too.
I’d like to think that we can all sit here now and say that the left, the progressives, the woke, the completely and intentionally detached from reality, are what we thought they were — no different than the America they purport to hate. Because they never hated that America, stylistically, they just hated that they were on the wrong side of it.
The darkness of their behaviors is attempting to poison us to the core, and now we all see it. So, let me ask again: Are we going to keep letting them off the hook?
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