Being “Woke” and the War on Woke

I am one of many who are proud to consider ourselves woke. We are proud to identify as liberals, progressives and Leftists. We don’t find the word “woke” insulting any more than those who identify as Right Wing or Conservative find those terms offensive. In fact, quite the opposite.

We find it very odd that it has become a pejorative since being woke simply means being enlightened and aware. Merriam Webster defines “woke” as:

“aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” defines it as:

“Woke means being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice. In mainstream use, woke can also more generally describe someone or something as being ‘with it’.”

For me, being woke means treating others as you wish to be treated; WWJD.

That means being kind and considerate, not bigoted or hateful. It means being empathetic and having compassion.

It means defending everyone’s right to equality, to vote, to an education, andhealth care. It means to protect everyone’s right to pray as they wish, or not.

For me, being woke also means having self-awareness. Knowing your values. Being able to reassess your values, goals and passions.

Being woke means recognizing that we are living in very divisive times and respecting everyone’s right to their opinion while encouraging tolerance co-existence. If you are anti-abortion — don’t have one. If you dislike drag shows, don’t attend any. If “race-mixing” is offensive or threatening to you, stick to socializing with those who look like you. No one is asking you to do otherwise. Same with people of faiths other than yours, or those not affiliated with any organized religion.

It means not judging or hating others, based on skin, color, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, age, sexual orientation or how they choose to dress.

It means favoring equality and fairness and eschewing greed. It means, debunking trickle-down theory, and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, but rather having compassion for those who have less, maybe being charitable.

If you believe the world is flat or the holocaust was a hoax, so be it. But being woke calls upon us to use critical thinking, verifying the truth of political claims and hearsay, not just parroting claims that may be false and some social media platforms restrict unproven conspiracy theories, just as we are all restricted from shouting fire when there is none.

It means pointing out hypocrisy such as ranting, wailing, breast beating and whining about “cancel culture” while banning books and drag kings and queens.

It means protecting the most vulnerable citizens from exploitation and preventing our youth from being killed by an epidemic of gun violence. It thus means supporting the passage of common sense gun safety laws — favored by the vast majority of citizens on both sides of the aisle — that would treat legal gun ownership as a respected right similar to driving which requires passing tests, licensing and maintaining insurance.

It means being pro-child and pro-family, recognizing that the best way to reduce abortion is to support reproductive health care including making birth control free and readily available and providing affordable daycare and support these values legislatively.

What Woke Does NOT Mean:

Being woke and aware does it in any way imply or suggest superiority or having exclusive ownership of a high moral ground, no more than being conservative or “Christian” does. The woke do not proselytize nor push their beliefs down anyone else’s throat. That would be disrespectful and totally contrary to the very definition of being woke. We don’t want to force or be forced into any thinking or dogma. The woke believe in live and let live! You can either agree or not. That’s your right and we respect your opinion even if we disagree with it.

We are not thought or speech police. We simply seek the avoidance of racial, ethnic and other insulting, hurtful, disparaging slurs and we thus suggest and hope people will treat one another kindly and respectfully in our words and actions. As such we support being aware and trying to limit the use of hurtful, insulting language for softer, kinder language that respects self-identification. If your friend said he didn’t like being called Dick but preferred being called Rick, would you disregard their wishes or abide by such a simple request? It is likewise no longer cool to use outdated terminology such as “the R word” for people with intellectual disabilities. Simply apply The Golden Rule.

Original poster designed by Mirah Riben showing the universality of The Golden Rule.

Woke does not seek to “cancel” differing opinions or people who express them. Some people have been censured by public opinion or even fired by their employers for hateful biased, misogynist, semitic or insensitive comments or jokes, mocking people who are differently abled. Woke individuals by no means encourage “cancelling” anyone. It happens just as the criticizing and demeaning of people considered to be woke occurs. Our divineness breeds name-calling. People are judgmental and social media gives everyone on all sides a platform to judge and criticize. Our first amendment allows it as long as it does not cross a line to slander or defamation.

To hate wokeness or suggest a war on woke is to be anti the basic teachings of Jesus — and aren’t His teachings the foundation of Evangelical Christianity? A war on wokeness is a war on all who teach love and human kindness for all people regardless of circumstance.