We are fast approaching an inflection point in this country. I like this definition of inflection point from investopedia: “An inflection point is an event that results in a significant change in the progress of a company, industry, sector, economy, or geopolitical situation and can be considered a turning point after which a dramatic change, with either positive or negative results, is expected to result.” Our inflection point is the cult of wokeness. Failure to embrace all things woke means being branded as anything from an intolerant rube to a white nationalist Nazi. The fear of not being woke enough has intruded upon virtually every aspect of our lives. Schools, your work, corporate PR, social and news media – every public statement or action taken today must be weighed against the sin of offending the woke army. That army will come down on you with a fury if you trespass against their dogma.
A trio of events made me think of this. The first was Tucker Carlson’s rant this week about wokeness in our military. He commented that the signal the Biden administration was giving is that our military is embracing wokeness by providing new maternity flight suits to pregnant pilots (I don’t know if I’m allowed to say female any more), while China’s military is becoming increasingly, well, militaristic. By pointing out the focus of our military seems to be drifting, Tucker committed the ultimate sin – he seemingly disrespected women. The woke army instantly began falling all over themselves to condemn and shame Tucker from every corner of the social media world. Cancel culture is in full effect with calls to boycott advertisers to the show, etc… Who cares what his actual point was – he implied women aren’t capable of fighting wars, which we hate anyway (wars, not women or whichever pronoun is preferred), but that doesn’t matter because this week we love our military again, I think (it’s hard to keep track), because we’re purging all those MAGA people from the military because, you know, Nazi’s.
Meanwhile, I watched Bill Maher’s monolog highlighting China’s relentless push forward while America gnashes their teeth and wails about being triggered by statues and the naming of sports teams or pancake syrup. Maher: “In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. America has none. … We’ve been having Infrastructure Week every week since 2009 but we never do anything. Half the country is having a never-ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato Head has a dick and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they’re eating babies. We are a silly people,” You know things have gone bad when an ultra lefty is the one calling out the ridiculousness of our wokeness.
Last night I had a moment of sadness while watching the series “For all mankind”. Excellent, highly recommend. Spoiler alert – it’s about an alternate reality similar to “The Man in the High Castle”. What made me sad is I realized that our brief moment of American exceptionalism is probably done. Sure, there are still plenty of pockets of innovation scattered throughout the country. But every step forward will be dragged down by the burden of being woke. As a country we seem determined to quash our can-do spirt by ensuring that every endeavor spends equal amounts of time devoted to having the exact right minority representation, that we properly highlight all ethnic and religious celebrations, and that #internationalindigenouspeoplesday is appropriately celebrated. We’re probably not far from the government mandating that all businesses have an office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) that reports into the Federal Office of Fairness.
It’s not that social progress is a bad thing. We’ve made huge strides from our past in how we treat people in this country. That is a good thing. The problem is that equity is not the same thing as equality and we’re losing that balance in our rush to make everything fair. We want everyone to have the same chance at life. While it hasn’t always been upheld, that principle of equality is what made this country exceptional. What you make of your life is entirely up to you, your life choices, and your work ethic. While some people have more roadblocks than others, you have the freedom to determine what course your life will take. Yes, the rich and societally blessed will always have an advantage. It’s been that way since the beginning of time and will always continue. If your parents have the means to send you to an Ivy league college, you probably have one step up on the gal who has to go to community college and work nights to pay for it. But the beauty of today is that community college gal has the same opportunity to start a business, run for office, or become a fabulously wealthy Instagram influencer, as the Ivy league guy if she’s smart and works hard. There’s a reason much of the lower income world aspires to move to America.
Equity and wokeness is pulling our society towards mediocrity. Nobody is allowed to be exceptional because of the fear that someone’s success was at the expense of someone who was less fortunate. We cancel anything that doesn’t reflect the group think. Corporate PR departments heavily influence business decisions as they run them through their DEI filters. Today, any individual is one poorly worded tweet away from losing their job and being ostracized from their local community. We just had two presidential elections in which people were actually afraid to publicly express their choice for fear of retribution. Depending on what city you live in, having the wrong bumper sticker on your car could mean a smashed window, or wearing a the wrong political red baseball hat could result in harassment (or worse) if you walked in the wrong woke area. Is that really the society you want? I suppose it’s all good as long as you’re on the right side of the mob.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the inflection curve will turn towards something more sane. I hope so, but I have my doubts. Personally, I think we’ve already crossed the inflection point. We’re going to have to follow this curve down for now and see where it leads. At least until a new inflection point arrives.