Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Woke” Up, My People

Washington, DC – I watched a “conservative” author who acknowledged that some book she was involved with had a whole chapter on “woke.” When asked for a definition thereof, she stumbled along, finally acknowledging that it was complicated. She couldn’t even define or even explain what she wrote about. Curiously, the next day she made an attempt that ended with the canard that “woke” folks would violently pursue their ends. It’s sadly amusing to note that in our current era, it’s not the woke that are violent but rather the opposite. Leftist ideologues are not perpetrating hate crimes against Asians, Jews, and gender nontypical folks, and attacks and murders against family planning centers are not committed by leftist ideologues. The violence is coming from the side she purports to represent. She is definitely not “woke” or even awake.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.” A proverb attributed to John Heywood in the 16th century and also indicated in Jeremiah 5:21. Many years ago, while watching TV with my then young daughter, I commented on the sexist and sexual way a woman was portrayed in a commercial. She asked what I meant, and I explained that the way she was dressed, etc., sent a message. As she watched that commercial and others, she finally complained, “why did you make me see that.” That is what “woke” means. Woke folks see what others refuse to see. That is the sad and sorry lot of we woke folks. We see, we notice, and we acknowledge rather than deny. We are not asleep. We are awake. As my daughter’s lament suggests, it’s often not a fun place to be. Trump himself knew the dangers of wokeness and admonished his acolytes to believe him and not their own eyes and ears.

Women are frequently a bit more woke than the average man because men think women are overreacting. They fail to see that aggressive, suggestive, or forceful behavior is problematic. Women, all of us, feel the tension and often fear. Yes, yes, I hear all those women saying, “not me”. They are not WOKE.

As a septuagenarian, I have witnessed many changes, but none so great and profound as the current efforts to limit women’s rights (yes, it’s not just women but also many other groups). The assault on my rights by the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade is something I have not heard spoken of, but that ruling made my medical privacy substantially different from that of men. It pulled out an exception regarding a woman’s bodily agency. Since then, Republican-led states with the bit in their teeth are racing to extend that exception to further invade a woman’s agency.

Similar aggressions are being legislated against people seeking gender dysmorphia help. While demagogues like de Santis blather about some parents’ rights to ban books and information they don’t like, thus infringing on other parents’ rights who want their children to have access to that knowledge, he simultaneously advocates severing parents’ rights to determine the appropriate medical care for their children. In some states, adults seeking care for gender identity issues are facing systemic obstacles to insurance coverage.

The word “systemic” is bereft of meaning in the current efforts of what is defined as the “right” to create a version of a theocracy in this country based on their un-Christlike interpretation of their preferred sacred text. Being willfully blinded by the beam in their own eyes, they choose to turn “judge not lest you be judged” and “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others” on their heads. In that future dystopia, they will be the judge of who is “saved.” In that world they envision, women would revert to their “proper place.” Men would revert to the patriarchal position in all things, and since WHITE supremacy is strongly woven into the entire fabric of these benighted souls, all bets are off for people of color.

It is startling to realize that this dire situation seems to go mostly unnoticed. It is heartening that, at least in Iran and Israel, citizens who recognize and are “woke” to the assault on the fundamental human rights to minimal bodily agency and access to an actual recourse to justice are, and have been for months, protesting the excessive power grabs of their governments. It is instructive to note that power structures, whether legitimately elected or not, resort to the strong man action of violence against nonviolent citizens when overreaching.

One must cooperate in one’s own oppression. Woke folks are desperately trying to shake awake the sleeping masses. The emperor really was and is naked.

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M.A. Callahan
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