Do Most Americans Accept the Woke Agenda?
Beginning with the Obama presidency in 2009, progressivism and its surly companion, wokeness, invaded the American political landscape. Progressive liberals champion political correctness at the expense of free speech, Critical Race Theory at the expense of white people, and defunding the police at the expense of law and order. They characterize America as an evil society weighed down by oppression of minorities and women. “To be woke,” says Scott McConnell in The American Conservative, “is to believe that all social life is permeated by interlocking systems of oppression, and that overturning them is a moral imperative.”
Progressivism has morphed into our newest religion. It is “an authoritarian movement that wants total compliance with its dictates,” said Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, “with severe punishments for those who disobey.” Thanks to their religious fervor, today’s liberals believe that freedom of speech is a flawed concept. Conservative viewpoints are demonized by the Left as hate speech. “Woke,” says Urban Dictionary, is “a state of awareness only achieved by those dumb enough to find injustice in everything except their own behavior.”
“People who violate the progressive code,” said political commentator Mark Levin in Liberty and Tyranny. A Conservative Manifesto, “are socially ostracized, sued for discrimination, forced to resign, and driven out of business.” In short, progressivism and wokeness run contrary to all of the values that we used to revere as typically American: freedom of speech, respect for individual rights, the rule of law, equality of opportunity via free market competition, the acceptance of personal responsibility, and the American Dream.
“Wokeness,” said Greg Gutfeld on Fox, “takes stuff that you love and can turn it to poison.” A recent example of this poisoning has been supplied by the Walt Disney Company, which used to be the purveyor of Mickey Mouse and other things American. Disney’s current management has been seduced by the powerful LGBTQ lobby. The company has announced that, from now on, 50 percent of its characters will be LGBTQ or minorities.
In a shameless case of overreach, Disney attacked a new parental rights law just passed in Florida that bans instruction concerning sex from kindergarten through the third grade. A strong majority of Floridians support the law. Disney doesn‘t give a damn. Following the lead of the left-wing media, Disney has attempted to mischaracterize the law as anti-gay.
The important thing to realize is that a majority of Disney employees are not in lockstep with their management. Jose Castillo, a current Disney employee who is running for Congress in Florida as a Republican, said that the "silent majority" of Disney employees supports the parental rights law despite the loud minority leading Disney to oppose it. "Disney and similar corporations listen to the loudest voices in the crowd," said Castillo. “The Disney cast members who support the parental rights far outnumber those who are protesting against it." English broadcaster Piers Morgan summed it up: “You’ve got this small group of very woke people that bully companies into following their very narrow worldview.”
What about the majority of Americans -- do they accept wokeness? The answer is no. Wokeness is an example of what I call the tyranny of the minority. “The actual number of the woke remains small,” says Scott McConnell, “perhaps six percent of the population, according to Pew surveys of American political attitudes. It is educated, it is mostly white, it is heavily concentrated in the media and universities. But it isn’t powerful enough to control the country if majorities are mobilized to resist it.”
Many polls, including NPR/PBS/Marist, Pew, and Fox make clear that most people are opposed to political correctness, defunding the police, and major increases in government spending. “As voters from New York City to Buffalo to Seattle showed without ambiguity,” McConnell says, “when wokeness is on the ballot and opposed vigorously, it loses. In activism and voting patterns, America’s most rapidly growing demographic groups are largely showing themselves indifferent or actively hostile to woke policies.”
The Democratic Party is beginning to recognize that its support of the extreme leftist agenda has become an enormous handicap at the polls. “[Democratic] politicians and party strategists are admitting that their biggest challenge comes from within,” said Chris Cillizza at CNN. “Woke liberals are demanding adherence to policies on crime, the environment and government spending that are simply not shared by a majority of the country.” Cillizza says there is broad acknowledgment that “talking about things like defunding the police or the Green New Deal or ending the detention of people coming across our southern border illegally are a recipe for political disaster in the 2022 midterm elections.”
“Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it,” said Democratic Party strategist James Carville “It’s hard to talk to anybody today -- and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party -- who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.”
What does the future portend? It is likely that wokeness “will be rolled back,” concludes Scott McConnell, “its practitioners and cultural preferences first widely mocked and then ignored, its victims rehabilitated and in some cases honored.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warns that, “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”
Predictions suggest that the Republicans will win back both houses of Congress in November and retake the presidency in 2024. That ought to spell the death knell for wokeness. Good riddance.
Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of eight books including Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying America. He is a former U.S. Marine officer, Fortune 500 sales executive, and Hollywood movie actor.
Image: US Congress