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Confusion and fear continue to drive wokeness

By Bill Connor

In the wake of the Antifa and BLM protests/riots in 2020, a unique dynamic has developed. During the protests, corporations and individuals gave millions to the BLM organization, and many enacted extreme (woke) policies with radical demands on employees. In 2020, a number of public figures were “cancelled’ for what had previously been the accepted norm (like criticizing kneeling during the anthem). Most individual Americans were in COVID lockdown (unless ANTIFA/BLM were protesting!) quietly watched things play out. Starting in 2021, and increasingly in 2022, polls have shown most Americans do not support the “wokeness” coming out of that period. Despite the majority opposing it, wokeness continues to pervade particularly corporations, media, government and entertainment. Confusion and fear explain what’s happening and courage is the way out. Let me explain.

First, despite what the mainstream media has attempted to portray, the group supporting the woke agenda is actually a distinct minority. According to journalist and co-founder of The American Conservative, Scott McConnell: “The actual number of the woke remains small, 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 … As voters from New York City to Buffalo to Seattle showed … when wokeness is on the ballot and opposed vigorously, it loses.” Ed Brodow, writing for the American Thinker, similarly makes clear, “Many polls, including NPR/PBS/Marist, Pew, and Fox make clear that most people are opposed to political correctness.”

British media personality Piers Morgan has observed: “You have a small group, very vocal, very woke people. Very active online and they bully companies into following their narrow world view … I’d admire Spotify when they stood by Joe Rogan. That is the way to deal with the mob, because the mob very quickly gets bored and moves on.” Even rational Democrats have come to realize the lack of support for wokeness, though admit the topic is “off limits.” According to famed Democratic Party strategist James Carville: “Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it; 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.” Unfortunately for Carville, he was slammed by the left for admitting this truth.

Since the clear majority recognizes the harm of wokeness in division, censorship and eventual societal collapse, most wonder how it continues to metastasize. Perhaps the closest historic example of this dynamic is in what happened with communist dictator Vladimir Lenin seizing power. First, Lenin twisted language to twist perceptions to his advantage. Starting in 1903 he called his minority (communist) socialist faction “the Bolsheviks” (majoritarians) and the actual majority (moderate) socialist faction “the Mensheviks” (minoritarians). Bolsheviks were always a minority faction among Russian revolutionaries, but the “majoritarian” label became ingrained. Lenin did the same in claiming Bolsheviks were the faction of “democracy,” despite overturning any democracy. As Monica Showater wrote in Business Investors of Lenin’s tactic: “By controlling words, Lenin controlled perceptions of reality.” Once Lenin controlled perceptions, he simply censored other news sources, thereby creating a monopoly on ideas. He even destroyed churches as Christianity was a competing idea.

Those driving wokeness have similarly attempted to control words to distort perceptions then silencing opponents. What was previously considered benign, like using the term “colorblind,” has been now given a racist connotation. The examples are endless. Through media friends, this minority has attempted to claim the status as the “majority” idea in America. Attempts to cancel and censor with labeling of “hate” or “racism” has been pervasive.

Lenin’s companion tactic in seizing power was through targeted terror to create fear. As Showater wrote: “In denouncing opponents, Lenin was obsessive, virulent, and personal … The bourgeois were “ex-people.” Lenin was ruthless in making examples of opponents to silence and control the majority population. In the continuing wordsmithing to create false perceptions, he even called the brutal murder of the Tzar’s family (including all his children by bullets and bayonets) a “humanitarian act.”

Those pushing woke ideologies have used the tactic of rioting, but not yet resorted to the level of Lenin’s physical violence. Still, they have created fear through targeting of jobs, families, reputation, etc. They have gone so far as to stigmatize and target those who don’t agree with absurdities, like gender not existing as a biological and physical reality. They have demanded genital mutilation of minors and called the procedure “gender affirming care.”

The Russian people could have stopped Vladimir Lenin by acknowledging the false perceptions he was creating and facing the fear and fighting back early. It will take courage for us to stand up, including defending those being targeted for cancelation. Most important is preventing the shut-down of opposing voices. History has shown that the time to push back is at the start before opposition is crushed. For the sake of the future of our children, we’ve got to stand up now and stand up together. With God and truth, we will win and bring back sanity.

Bill Connor is a 1990 Citadel graduate, 30-year Army infantry colonel (ret.) and combat veteran. He is a writer and attorney and lives in the Charleston area.


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