The latest rendition of the culture wars now includes a term that characterizes what it means to be “woke.” What does that mean? Well, if you accept popular expressions of being “woke,” you might agree with the Urban Dictionary’s version. Specifically, being woke means “being aware and knowing what’s going on in the community” as related to “racism and social injustice.”
Indeed, the word “woke” has been appropriated by Black Lives Matter (BLM) adherents. They call for their followers not only to be aware of injustice or racism, but also to take aggressive action to implement BLM goals and, in the process, to “stay woke.” Sadly, much of what is “being woke” for BLM is not only Marxist philosophy but a form of reverse racism that is unsatisfied with the dictionary meaning of equality, seeking to replace it with “equity.” In this regard, their idea of justice is not simply the legal equality of people, but the use of the government to fill the pockets of people with unearned money.
Being “woke” also includes being part of the cancel culture cabal. These people are easily outraged by some word usage, idea expression, or perceived insensitivity by people or organizations who constitute the “un-woken.” As a result, these self-consciously tenderhearted souls proceed to boycott and punish the offending person or organization. In their world, the saying “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me” has been replaced with “sticks and stones will now be thrown at those whose words offend me.”
Wokeism has been significantly broadened in popular culture to give expression to a host of very far-left ideas that embrace more government, socialism, and the disruption of cultural norms, much of which many Americans find objectionable. Want proof? One need only consider the results of the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election. There, Democrats at the state level and in the General Assembly were shown the door and Republicans were swept into office with the same vigor as Democrats were four years earlier. Voters in Virginia have taken account of “woke” policies as broadly expressed by radical liberals—people who prefer to be labeled as progressives—and have rejected them and their policies.
Moreover, that rejection was fully expressed in Democrat-dominated Northern Virginia. The haughty actions of Loudoun County’s far-left school board in ignoring parental concerns over transgender bathrooms, the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), and policies that allow immature children to force their teachers to refer to them by the pronoun of their choice angered parents of all backgrounds. Somewhere along the way to enraging parents of their county, the Loudoun School Board forgot that parents are the essential consumers of the public education of their children and those consumers also vote. When that school board—and others of their ilk—are up for reelection, you can be sure many will be giving concession speeches on Election night. It seems that wokeism has met its match. And that match is what I would call “quickening.”
In pregnancy, quickening is the first fetal movement a mother senses in her womb. It is the evidence of a new life. Indeed, in religious circles, to “quicken” means “to revive or make alive.” In Psalm 143:11, the King James Version says, “Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake.” In the New International Version, the verse reads, “For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life.” The New American Standard Bible translation reads, “For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me.” Indeed, to be “quickened” in a biblical context involves revival and a preservation of life.
Both usages, that of a new child becoming felt and people reconnecting with the first stirrings of their faith, have a connection with the conservative sentiments that are emerging nationally in response to far-left woke philosophy. Americans, who are charitable people and generally respect the opinions of others, have not taken kindly to having woke proclivities and polices forcefully jammed down their throats as some form of litmus test that validates a person’s worthiness or virtue.
People of good nature are not racist and do not appreciate BLM activists referring to them as “white supremacists” if they do not fully embrace BLM Marxist goals and reverse racism. Many voters are also concerned with expanding government and woke economic policies, particularly those that would reject free market solutions and limited government. And parents have been jolted and are rejecting CRT that denigrates America’s founding or views others as either oppressed or oppressors. Nor do they want pronoun absolutism or transgender bathrooms. They will not tolerate woke indoctrination as a substitute for education.
In that regard, many Americans have been “quickened” culturally and politically. Conservative activism has been aroused and revived as well. To be sure, wokeism has met its match: the Quickened Movement.