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The Use of the Word "Woke" by Right-Wingers is a Repackaging of Old Racist Dog Whistles

It's painful to listen to right-wingers like FL Gov. Ron DeSantis use the word "woke." Progressives haven't used the term for years, but when they did it simply meant that an individual is aware, no longer ignorant, of systemic racism within society. These days, MAGA Republicans use the term to denigrate anything related to social justice or even common decency.

So, for instance, if you are uncomfortable listening to a right-winger rant about "the gays," the "me-too" movement, social justice initiatives, immigrants or George Soros and "the Jews," you might be labeled as "woke." And, just so you can keep your conservative jargon straight, 20 years ago you would have been called "politically correct" and five years ago you would have been a "snowflake."

DeSantis made his big anti-woke speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] taking full advantage of the conference's hilariously juvenile theme; "Awake Not Woke."

ABC News: "The 'woke' is the new religion of the left," DeSantis said to raucous cheers during his appearance at CPAC four-day affair. "It's about tearing up the fabric of our society and trying to replace it with something that will be much, much more sinister."

"Sinister?" Really? Apparently, in DeSantis's warped mind, things like voting rights and social justice are "sinister."

Not to be outdone, Florida's Republican Senator Rick Scott spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington to burnish his anti-woke credentials.

Yahoo: "Americans in flyover country have had absolutely enough of this woke elitist nonsense.”
“The woke left wants all of that gone. They want to end the American experiment. They want to replace freedom with control.”
“We survived the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. But now today we face the greatest danger we’ve ever faced. The militant left wing in our country has become the enemy within,” Scott said.

Here's the thing Sen. Scott; when you string together a whole bunch of hyperbolic nonsense you end up sounding like an ignorant dolt. And, as a reminder Senator: the so-called "militant left-wing" works for voting rights; the militant right-wing storms the Capital, beats up cops, and tries to overturn an election.

So, why all this hysteria about the woke left? It's simply a straw man, something to gin up the culture wars. Republicans have nothing else to talk about; no policies to address the nation's real challenges on healthcare, the environment, or rebuilding the nation's rural heartland. For the GOP, the culture wars are everything which is why they spend their political capital attacking trans kids, gutting women's reproductive rights, and enacting teaching and book bans.

And there is a second reason, as noted in an inciteful article by Perry Bacon Jr. for FiveThirtyEight.

Bacon: "Republicans need to make their cultural appeals to the party’s more conservative voters more subtext than text to avoid turning off too many Americans who wouldn’t want to vote for candidates or a party they perceive as bigoted. Also, talking about race and identity in this way could help the GOP break away from some of the more controversial elements of former President Donald Trump’s approach, particularly his rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims during his 2016 campaign, and therefore blunt the notion held by many Americans that the GOP is dominated by racists."
"Republicans are already making this shift toward talking about cancel culture and wokeness instead of using rhetoric like Trump’s in 2016."

In other words, it's also a way to appeal to bigots without sounding quite so bigoted. In that way, woke has just replaced racist code words of the past like "states' rights," "welfare queens," and Willie Horton, to mention but a few.

#politics #culture

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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