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Why Is the GOP Against WOKE?


The other night I turned on the TV as a banner scrolled across the bottom of the screen which said the Texas Rangers had just beaten the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series.

Texas? Arizona? How the fuck did baseball teams from those states wind up in the World Series?

When I was a kid, the World Series was always played between one or maybe two New York teams. Sometimes a city like Chicago would also be involved, but there was no state like Arizona where anything having to do with the ‘national pastime’ ever happened at all.

It reminded me of when I was out in Los Angeles a few years ago. I had nothing better to do one night so I drove over to The Forum, which I heard was the most beautiful sports arena ever built. They were playing a hockey game that night, so I bought a ticket and went inside.

The game was between the NHL team from Los Angeles versus the NHL team from some other Western city like San Jose. Who the hell ever heard of ice hockey being played in two cities where the temperature never goes below sixty degrees?

When I was a kid there were six professional hockey teams from cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, and Montreal – cities which had real winters with real snow.

The point is that things change and either you accept change, or you don’t. And what I find somewhat interesting is the degree to which the basic political division in this country isn’t between Democrats and Republicans and isn’t between whites and blacks or men and women. It’s between going backwards and forwards in terms of change.

For the last twenty years or so, I have been listening to endless comments – some nice, some not so nice – about how by the mid-2030’s the country is going to be less than a majority white. And sometimes the racial issue in this respect is referred to as WOKE. And how we think about WOKE is often framed in terms of how things change, or how things have changed or how things will change.

But WOKE isn’t about race or racial differences per se, it’s really how white versus black or black versus white is also shorthand for socio-economic gaps between the two racial groups, with whites having more and blacks having less.

Now in theory, we all want everyone to have as much as they can get. But what makes the whole WOKE thing so pernicious, however, is the idea that to give more to the blacks you have to take it away from the whites. Or to put WOKE in gender terms, to give more to women you have to take it away from men.

If that’s the case, what do you do about the LGBTQ crowd? Give more to them by taking it away from both women and men? And I’m not talking here about money or wealth. I’m talking about social status, social privilege, and social access, such as who can take a piss in who’s toilet or who can play on who’s sports team – things like that.

When I was a kid (here we go again with me sounding like an old fart) the big issue was civil rights for blacks. I remember driving over the Delaware Memorial Bridge in 1954 and the first hot dog stand that we passed on the Delaware side had a sign which told the blacks to go around and be served in back.

That’s right. That wasn’t Alabama or Tennessee. That was in Delaware on U.S. Route 40 which was how you drove down the East Coast before they built I-95.

And by the way, we were driving through Delaware in 1954 to get to a vacation house my father had rented in Rehoboth Beach, which is now a gay, oceanside resort town but in those days the gays in Rehoboth (and everywhere else) stayed out of sight. It was understood that you could come out as gay in Provincetown, but that’s because Provincetown promoted itself as an ‘art colony,’ not as a gay town.

That was all then, this is now. When my stepdaughter and her black boyfriend wanted to drive from New York down to Florida a few years ago, she called and asked me where they should stay over one night on I-95.

I said, “Hey, wait a minute! A mixed-race couple can’t go looking for a motel room in the South.”

She had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

Does the GOP really believe it can remain a viable national political party by trying to control how the world will change?

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