The Problem Isn’t Woke

“Florida is where woke goes to die.”

Governor Ron DeSantis, (R-Cruelty) loves to say that in his devoid-of-personality way. It’s obvious that it tickles him to declare stupid things that elicit favor from the base. He seems to revel in encouraging exclusion, intimidation and authoritarian, anti-American behavior. He knows what makes him happy.

I tuned in to a bit of the CNN town hall with Nikki Haley and was immediately smacked in the face by her own pandering to the base and constant focus on applause lines, rather than saying anything that actually means something of value to non-extremists. She’s pretty much like DeSantis.

For example, she criticized Biden’s climate initiative to get us off our fossil fuel diet. Electric vehicles are heavier, she told us, and our bridges can’t handle that, so we’ll have to rebuild a gazillion bridges, a cost that Biden omits from the projected cost of transportation conversion.

Heavier? And if they are, is that a barrier to taking action to save the planet and ourselves? Okay, that sounds stupid, but let’s check, shall we?

Here are three popular 4-door sedans, each with room for 5 passengers:

The 2023 Tesla Model 3 has a curb weight of 3880 lbs.

The 2023 Chevrolet Malibu has a curb weight of 3159 lbs.

The 2023 Toyota Camry has a curb weight of 3340 lbs.

Okay, Nikki, you nailed the key problem. it looks like we have as much as 721 pounds of excess, bridge-crushing woke in the electric car. The mindless audience applause still rings in that auditorium.

Jake Tapper, usually a reliable interviewer who doesn’t let interviewees get away with dodging questions or giving dodgy replies, let Haley get away with her practiced, intelligence-free statements. That went on the entire time I was able to tolerate watching the spectacle.

It was very disappointing, much like the misnamed Trump town hall. That’s where CNN’s Kaitlan Collins was powerless to stem the tide – the tsunami, really – of Trump’s fact-free, self-serving delusions in the form of applause lines. The entire event, complete with no audience members who were not faithful Trumpers, was nothing more than a Trump Rally. No news or informed, intelligent ideas were to be found anywhere in the vicinity.

All of Haley’s, Trump’s and DeSantis’ anti-woke pandering is nothing more than bumper sticker fictions that call extremists to hatred and domination of unacceptable “others.” These presidential candidates are world class inciters with the finest of reality-free applause lines.

There is no “woke.”

That’s just a label used inflame the base, much like they use the label “Antifa.” The panderers like to call out Antifa as though it is an invading army, a threat to our country, rather than an informal collection of Americans who refuse authoritarianism and fascism. Those who identify as Antifa don’t riot, they don’t intimidate other Americans, they don’t make death threats and they do think democracy is a good thing. Imagine that!

The problem we in America have is not woke. Our problem is the haters and manipulators who try to make people afraid of their boogeyman du jour. They pander for voters’ support by inciting hatred and violence using their cruel fictions about other Americans. They are the ones who least resemble what we used to call American values and who stand in the way of our recapturing them.

There is no woke that goes to Florida to die. There is just a cadre of liars creating an incentive to hatred and violence and, perhaps, causing others to die. That’s the real threat and they put it into law, like this:

Definition: “Stand Your Ground” law. A mechanism to boil testosterone and create dead bodies. It is much beloved by haters and other insecure, cowardly people and embodies the true essence of anti-woke.

Woke Clarity From Another Source

Retired attorney and thoughtful person Ralph Bernstein leads a weekly political discussion group via Zoom. In his agendum (yes, he uses that term correctly) for yesterday’s session, he offered this discussion teaser:

Repub [sic] legislators, judges who are said to be right-wing judges, and MAGA activists have set out to trample on free speech and individual rights in the name of battling “wokeism.” If they don’t like what teachers say about history, they gag them. If they don’t like certain books, they ban them. If they don’t like a corporation defending LGBTQ rights, they retaliate against it. Their crusade has become an expression of not only white Christian nationalism but of contempt for the Constitution and the First Amendment.

If you’d like to attend and participate in Ralph’s no-charge discussions, drop him a line at [email protected].

Woke Must-Read of the Week

From the John Pavlovitz essay, Woke Will Win, June 5, 2023 (click through and read this excellent post in full):

The leveraging of irrational fear is nothing new.

Throughout history it has been the go-to tactic of the worst of politics and religion.

When you lack substantive ideas, you need an encroaching enemy to move and motivate people.

When you have nothing redemptive to offer, you have to create a violent adversary for them to run from and push back against.

When vulnerable people are placed in your path, you need to somehow turn those people into a threat to be exterminated.

If you can’t or won’t engage in difficult conversations about complex issues, you turn words into monsters:


The jab.

Anti-Woke Book Ban Selection of the Week

If sex, adultery, slavery, sex trafficking and murder are forbidden topics, this according to the anti-wokers, then we absolutely must ban the Bible. That is a nasty set of human debauchery tales if ever there was one. These books quite obviously don’t belong in libraries, schools, homes and other places where impressionable children might come upon them.

In fact, I don’t think you should be reading such salacious material either. As Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, “I know it when I see it.” So do you.

If you are to be a flamer who burns those awful books, you better start gathering them and tossing them into a dumpster right now. Otherwise, Ron DeSantis and those 11 crazies responsible for so much book banning are going to have all the puritanical, witchy fun, as well as the ego rush that comes from bullying.

A Peculiarity

Yesterday was June 6. On that day in 1944 we and our allies made the Normandy invasion, the major push to defeat the Nazis and bring WW II to an end. What is peculiar now is the lack of recognition of the date in the news and elsewhere. D-Day used to be a major event in the public consciousness, but apparently no longer.

It’s just my speculation, but perhaps that is happening because of the rapid loss of those of our Greatest Generation who fought for our democracy, now dying at the rate of about 180 per day. That number used to be many times greater, but, of course, there are so few left.

  • Today is a good day to be the light.


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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3 Responses to The Problem Isn’t Woke
  1. Todd VonOhlen Reply

    A Ford F 150 pickup truck weighs 4950 lbs. This is one of the most popular vehicles in the US. Nicky Haley should be complaining about crashing our bridges by good ol’ boys driving their gas gusseting pick up trucks!

  2. Frank Levy Reply

    Jack – Regarding Nikki Haley’s CNN televised rally, I have two thoughts, which is two more than either she or Jake Tapper had. First, Haley’s idiotic comment about car weights conveniently forgets about the vehicle weights of the favorite vehicles of the ethno-fascist Christian nationalists, vehicles like the Dodge Ram trucks, the Chevy and GMC 350 and 450 trucks, their 45′ RVs and the huge trucks that haul them, or their Class A, B, and C motor homes. I guess this is just my way of agreeing with you about Haley’s mean spirited, anti-American, and anti-America Republicanism.

    The other thought is about Jake Tapper. Poor Jake. Clearly he, like the other news readers at CNN, including Wolf Blitzer, has decided to sell his soul, conscience, and integrity to the new right-wing “leadership,” and owners of CNN. It is astonishing how quickly and completely the CNN on air personalities have become the new voices of the Republican extremists.

  3. Kirk Landers Reply

    Haley’s car weight/bridge thing is extraordinarily ignorant, even for a MAGA politician. Our bridges are engineered to accommodate high volumes of Class 8 trucks and trailers whose gross weights are measured in the tens of thousands of pounds, not to mention the vast fleets of SUVs that rumble over our streets and bridges at weights that far exceed those of the compact cars you cited. As a governor, she surely knows this, so we can assume her statement just reflects the MAGA belief that their base is stupid…a proposition that is self-evident in so many other ways.