January 16 was the day we (at least those of us who care) commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King gave his own life to free millions of others. His contributions should not be ignored, ridiculed, or vilified, which is exactly what Republicans are trying to do with their ridiculous attacks on “wokeness.” Anything that doesn’t go along with their status quo is “woke.” Even as they decry their attempts to save “freedom of speech,” they want others silenced.
The whole “woke” conversation is nothing but a new way of displaying hatred. Faux News reported that Jim Banks (R-IN) is creating an “Anti-Woke Caucus.” This is simply another way to waste time and taxpayer money. Banks calls “wokeness” the “greatest domestic threat to America today.” I beg to argue with him; Republicans are the greatest domestic threat to America. They claim they want to stop all the “hate,” but they are merely fanning the flames. To the extent they really do have constituents who care about this nonsense, they are pandering to a very small group of haters. It makes you wonder how these people even get elected. We can only assume that even Republicans who exhibit some sense of normalcy are voting for them because they’re the only Republicans in the race. If that’s true, then they are just as bad as the rest.
What exactly is “wokeness?” Some opine that it began around the time of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO by police officers when people began to become vigilant about injustices facing Blacks (The Elm). From there, it has been morphed by people who don’t want to face the truth of life for minorities in the U.S. into something evil. To bring home their point, they want to cover up the truth, including the history of how Blacks even came to be in this country. There is nothing “woke” about acknowledging history and trying to learn from it. Indeed, most intelligent people want to learn from history. We hear this same rhetoric from white supremacists, who say their racism is their “culture.” Racism is not now, nor will it ever be “culture.” Judging people based on the way they look is not “culture.” It a culture of ignorance. Ignorance must be banished, and that includes the ignorance of our so-called representatives.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Another is: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Even as he was beaten, jailed, and denied his rights, Dr. King never hated and kept to his vow to wipe out hate with love. Republican officials can and need to learn to live Dr. King’s legacy. There is nothing wrong with teaching children about the history of our country, both good and bad. It is not “indoctrination;” it is “truth.” Truth will always set us free. Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the value of truth.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years