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LETTER: Getting bogged down in ‘woke’

I respect Victor Davis Hanson and his eminent career as a historian, author, lecturer and commentator. However, his March 5 column regarding the “woke wrecking machine” seemed a bit hysterical. Mr. Hanson uses the term, or a variation of it, 23 times in his piece without defining it.

Some readers may have some understanding of the word “woke.” Others not at all. As a starting point, it is the vernacular derivative of the verb “to wake” and was present in African American slang in the 1960s. Many Americans were “waking up” socially throughout that decade. The civil rights and peace marches alone were certainly an awakening. I’m pretty sure Mr. Hanson would label President Lyndon Johnson a “wokester” for signing into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

More recently, on the left, it has been used to shame anyone who isn’t socially enlightened or used by the right in a pejorative way. Hence, Mr. Hanson’s use of the word in relation to COVID, the FBI, universities, Ukraine, lawlessness and air traffic controllers. Woke is used by some politicians, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, to stir cultural skirmishes that promote division.

In the end, as long as we have had a two-party system, we have had acrimonious disagreement on policies at the local, state and federal levels of government. Furthermore, many judgmental political labels have come and gone over the decades initiated by both parties. Nevertheless, the majority of Americans will continue to pursue truth, freedom, equality, justice, acceptance and fairness and will remain unyielding in that pursuit because those democratic values are exactly what makes America great. Woke or not.

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