“Woke” was coined by the left some years ago to describe a person who had become sensitive to the left’s pet issues, especially racial and “social justice” ones. It implied that a person disagreeing with the left about those issues was not just wrong, but unconscious. Becoming woke was unintentionally analogous to the Christian concept of being born again — which is appropriate since leftism is the left’s religion.
This catchy term was initially successful. But the left never succeeds at success. That’s because what’s important to them is not being successful in resolving grievances, but parading those grievances as evidence of their victimhood.
Victim status is more important to the left than winning – and easier too. If the left were a sports team, they’d be lazy and winless but they would always say, gleefully, that it’s because the referees robbed them.
And so, to the left, an outcome that succeeds in resolving their grievances is a failure because it deprives them of their celebrated victimhood. An outcome that fails to resolve their grievances is a success because it ensures perpetual victimhood.
By the way, the left’s loud and incessant complaining causes policy makers – from politicians to board rooms to college administrators – to mistakenly think they’re more numerous than they are. The silent majority of non-leftists don’t get heard because, well, they’re silent. Until election day anyway.
Think of the left as a nagging wife or husband. Because they enjoy the victimhood status it confers on them, nagging spouses nag loudly and frequently. If you have a nagging husband, Siri probably thinks you have three or four of them based on the amount of nagging she eavesdrops on.
“Woke” thus followed a predictable path, something like a nagging wife who starts every complaint with, “Why do you always….” Initially it was a useful slogan and so the left re-purposed it into their entire grab bag of victim-conferring complaints.
It started as a term for anti-racism (whatever happened to the left’s “science” that race doesn’t exist?) and taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who want it (so long as the wanters are woke). But then it expanded into global warming, censorship of conservative views, abolishment of merit, cancelation of comedians, arrogant school boards, pro-abortion, political correctness, Orange Man Bad and everything else in the left’s monotonous catechism of litmus tests.
The left pretends to seek change but are actually just grievance-mongering by sloganeering. Even the French think they’ve gone overboard with wokeness.
Conservatives observed all this with bemusement turning to amusement. “Woke” had become a parody. It went from a clever brand to a cliché to the punch line of a joke that everyone has heard too many times.
Woke thus joined its ancestral words like “liberal.” The left rebranded itself “liberal” in the 20th century because “socialism” had become associated with, duh, socialism.
(It was a deliberate corruption of the word “liberal” which historically meant social tolerance, lean government, non-interference and libertarianism. The left believes in none of that and so in the hope of deceiving people, for a little while anyway, they of course had to say they did.)
“Liberal” then got a bad reputation, just as “socialism” had, because the people came to associate it not with classical liberalism but with socialists who had rebranded themselves liberals. So the left rebranded itself again as “Progressives.”
You see how this works. The left keeps a good brand only until people begin to associate it with the bad product they’re selling.
“Woke” is the latest runner in this semantical chase. But as with all the old leftist brands, “woke” is getting a bad name too. AOC complains (like the good leftist she is, she does love complaining) that conservatives are deliberately using the word “woke” to mock wokeness, just as they used “liberal” to mock liberals and used “socialist” to mock socialists.
To that, I plead guilty. The left never seems to get the point that their word games get turned against them. They always lose their race through the thesaurus because people naturally come to associate any word, regardless of its true meaning and regardless of its initial catchiness, with what it is actually used to describe. That’s how language works.
“Woke” now refers to the panoply of leftism to which the left themselves applied it. If conservatives find it politically useful to use “woke” as mockery, it’s because the left has applied it to mock-worthy notions. The left could rebrand themselves “superhero’s” but within three years people would associate “superhero’s” with overreaching socialists and so it would become a term of derision.
What the left needs is not a new brand to apply to their tired old theories. What they need are new theories. They need theories that are rooted in something other than celebrating their victimhood under the guise of bogus complaints. They need theories that work.