In 1986, Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”
That was 35 years ago, and I’d like to suggest a nine-word update: “I’m woke, and I’m here to change the world.”
The woke folks suck the fun out of everything, as I will detail below, but the good news is we don’t have to take their treatment lying down. It’s time to fight back against the killjoys that destroy the good life we Americans once worked for and encouraged.
Every day die aufgewachten Leute—my apologies if I’ve butchered the German for “woke folks”—spring to their computers and cell phones to report some new outrage, to demonize often innocent people, and to announce they know what is best for the rest of us and they’re going to see we get it good and hard. Fly an American flag, and you’re a bigoted Trump supporter. Oppose the teaching of critical race theory in the schools, and you’re a racist. Ask for a definition of systemic racism, and you’re a hardcore member of the Ku Klux Klan. Speak out against gender-neutral locker rooms in a public school or against transgender athletes participating in women’s sports, and you’re transphobic.
The woke folks are as suspicious of joy as one of Stalin’s commissars. The arrival of a new baby is no time for festivity, but a moment of reckoning for overpopulation and planetary footprints. A wedding is less an occasion of delight than an outmoded delineation of male and female roles.
We might call the woke folks Puritans, but that would be an insult to the godly people who first acquired that name, drank beer, had lots of children, attended festivals, and sang songs and told stories.
Unfortunately, some of the woke folks wield a great deal of power. They control many of our universities, they run our big corporations, they work inside our government as politicians and bureaucrats, and the more energetic ones organize riots in our streets to protest injustices and push their causes. And like the Energizer Bunny, they work day and night to push their agenda.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it.” So how we can we fight against the woke folks and for the things we love: the flag, baby showers, weddings, traditional education, First Amendment rights, and more?
We can protest, of course, as did these people at a Loudon County, Virginia school board meeting. They stood up and spoke out against gender-neutral bathrooms and critical race theory. We can all vote, write letters to our politicians, boycott the products of woke corporations, avoid woke news sites, and in general rely on our common sense rather than on woke theories.
And we can have some fun.
In fact, let’s try whooping it up whenever the occasion presents itself. Months of masks and social distancing have left many Americans grim about the mouth, and the wokesters have only added to our pain and misery. Let’s make laughter our antidote to their poison, and joy in living our sunshine against their darkness and clouds.
Independence Day, for example, is just around the corner. Let’s decorate our homes with American flags and red, white, and blue bunting. Let’s light off some fireworks and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” at our backyard barbeques. Let’s take pride and delight in the fact that we still live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
And let’s pay attention when we see joy in others. This past week I was driving past the courthouse when a young man and woman came outside. The guy was waving a piece of paper in triumph, and then he scooped the girl into his arms and carried her off down the street. Was that their wedding license he had in hand? I have no idea, but that sight brought me a grin that wouldn’t quit.
H.L. Mencken famously defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” As I said earlier, that’s an undeserved slap in the face to the original Puritans, but it definitely fits the tight-lipped, flinty eyed woke folks to a T, and we don’t have to allow them to spoil our own happiness.
This summer, let’s make a concerted effort to have some fun wherever we can find it.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.