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America is Waking Up to Woke

America is Waking Up to Woke

In recent years, wokeness has become part of the political lexicon.  It originally referred to an awakening over racial injustices.  Today it covers a wide range of controversial progressive cultural, social, and economic issues.  It intermingles with the leftwing concepts of political correctness and identity politics.  Wokeness is no longer about basic personal freedom and justice – but rather a partisan and biased leftwing political agenda.  

Woke has come to represent the entire range of radical leftwing programs – including defunding police, abolishing Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), general immigration policies, softness on crime, and even the Green New Deal legislation’s attack on oil.  It is mostly associated with social and cultural issues involving education, gender, and sex.  However, wokeness also involves international relations – most notably the Middle East’s Israel/Palestinian conflict.

That may explain why wokeness is becoming increasingly unpopular with the American people.

The backlash against woke policies and beliefs is evident throughout the political landscape.  Wokeness in education – critical race theory, gender fluidity education, anti-American Exceptionalism, and the introduction of salacious adult reading materials – has resulted in a wave of anti-woke Republicans being elected to school boards.  In some states – such as Florida — the anti-woke movement has resulted in statewide legislation.  Florida’s popular Governor, Ron DeSantis, has declared the Sunshine State is where “woke goes to die.”

In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin won an upset gubernatorial victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe by running on an anti-woke platform.  Democrats who were once calling for police defunding have grown silent in the face of the backlash – and in some cases, have claimed to never have favored the defunding proposals even as Democrats were actually enacting defunding legislation.  The traditionally progressive voters of Minneapolis defeated a referendum that would have drastically defunded the local police – and that was in the wake of the George Floyd murder.

Even more surprising was the election of a Republican prosecutor in uber-liberal Seattle.  My own son in Seattle – who leans to the progressive side – voted for a Republican prosecutor for the first time.  It was in response to the local prosecutors’ going easy on criminals and the growing homeless crisis,  In terms of election politics, woke is a wanning concept – but the anti-woke backlash is impacting on more than the politicians.  

Businesses that have ventured into the controversial woke issues have been the subject of state legislative actions and have suffered from organic boycotts.

Most state legislatures are enacting or considering laws that push back against woke business policies.  The Texas State Legislature has proposed laws that ban state investment in companies with anti-Israel or green anti-oil policies. Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley has introduced legislation to ban acquisition and mergers by $100 billion-dollar social media companies – such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.  His concern was not merely the size of the enterprises, but their biased censorship based on the support of woke corporate policies.  The Georgia legislature took away a tax break from Delta Airlines after the company went woke in opposition to an election reform law.

Nowhere has the power of the anti-woke backlash been more evident than in the reaction of consumers.  Anti-woke folks have voted with their dollars.  Disney suffered measurable economic losses in sales and value after going all in on wokeness – notwithstanding the ill-advised fight over Disney’s autonomous zone agreement.  

Anheuser Bush got kicked in the can (pun intended) when they attempted to reach the tiny transgender market with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s image on Bud-Light.  Sales plunged, and the company lost $19 billion in market value.  The company has since dropped the Mulvaney ad campaign and produced a number of American values macho advertisements.

When Target expanded its gay product “pride” merchandise line to include transgender and gender fluidity promotional products – including childrenswear – and what could be described as anti-Christian themes, the company lost more than $14 billion in market value.  Some of the products were designed by a transgender artist known for his satanic and anti-religious themes.  Target has since removed the more offensive products.

Gillette lost billions of dollars after running an advertisement designed to promote their female line by lecturing men on “toxic masculinity.”  It was a close shave for the company, and they dropped the social commentary ads.  Starbucks was pushed into banning workers from wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts.  

Business practices have resulted in a variety of lawsuits.  Coca-Cola was sued by stockholders after introducing a woke diversity program in which employees had to be “less white.”  Justin Danhof, director of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research, has filed dozens of shareholder resolutions against companies with woke policies. The pushback against corporations has promoted the slogan “Go woke and go broke.”  

The aforementioned are only a sprinkling of the grassroots actions in opposition to woke policies, programs, and legislation.  Rather than ebbing, it appears that they are increasing and getting more effective.  

Contrary to the claims of those on the left, the anti-woke pushback is not anti-gay, anti-black, or anti-women — but rather the extreme demands of the most radical elements within those communities.  Woke appears to have gone too far for the average American.  And the people are pushing back.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

6 Comments

  1. spaceman spiff

    What the FLOCK? The mighty Frank Stetson has nothing to say? I’m surprised. I really thought “Frank” would hop all over this piece.
    In short, I have to agree with the timbre of this article because there is a lot of truth in it. I’m one of the folks that has had it up to the gunnels with all of the political correctness, WOKE policies, and other gerbage that’s been thrust at us for a long time. I have no problem with gay folks or the general idea of the BLM movement, for instance. I’m just very, very tired of being beat over the head with these ideas and movements all the time. I oppose gay marriage on the face of it because I’m a traditional Christian and I object to the LGBTQ community trying to tell us that gay marriages are the same as traditional ones. Why any clergyman would bless such a union is beyond me. But, some will still perform such marriages. Other persons “of the cloth” categorically refuse to have anything to do with same-sex marriages. My son is a minister and has said repeatedly that if someone tried to force him to perform such a marriage, he’d rather go to jail. I’d go with him. I’d have no problem with some sort of “Civil Union” for same-sex joinings with the same rights as traditional marriage. Just don’t try to call a tail a leg.
    Yes, I oppose such things on the strength of my belief in Jesus as my Savior and my own personal feelings against such goings-on. I would NOT push for such things as jailing people because they are of such leanings or deny them jobs, medical care, or common decency in daily dealings with them. I just oppose having such ideas FORCED upon us.
    As for BLM? I agree that Black Lives Matter. But also yellow lives, red lives, white lives, Blue lives, and EVERY OTHER human life MATTERS! We are all children of God and should be recognized as such by everyone. Even annoying ones like Frank…

    • frank stetson

      Sorry Spiff, I was following my new mantra: “Be woke, but feel free to take naps.” And I am glad the BLM spurred you to announce your support for every other human life. Not sure why you need the BUT, but…..

      I was amazed after the summer of Floyd by how fast companies jumped on board for the market. Not sure whether the market itself or to gain sales from other advocates, but they really jumped in. Just as amazed how easy it is for people to give up Bud and drink Mexican beer that they called “piss” only months before or yuppie weak Coors…. Businesses go for the money, they don’t often have “feelings,” so pretty sure they thought there was gold in them there hills, and will modify quickly given that vein just didn’t pay out. The sad part is, for the most part, it’s only the Bud workers on the line that will suffer; management will be just fine, even if fired, will be just fine. But I enjoy people voting with their wallets, it’s American Capitalism at it’s finest.

      “Anti-woke folks have voted with their dollars. Disney suffered measurable economic losses in sales and value after going all in on wokeness – notwithstanding the ill-advised fight over Disney’s autonomous zone agreement.” Actually, in most of these cases, it’s not totally measurable. Most often, there are lots of moving parts. Disney is an interesting study. One that I take personally in that I bought on the first drop, then doubled down on the second drop, and now am holding the bag, so to say. But all of that happened before DeSantis and frankly, against that, I have not personally really noticed the woke war on this one, just a glutted market of good competitors awaiting the final shakeout. Certainly DeSantis and the anti-wokers haven’t helped though either.

      The DeSanctimonious war with Disney started about March of 22 with his “don’t say gay” bill. Disney spoke out because a vocal portion of Disney workers demanded support. And now they are locked in a feud that just looks personal and harmful to both Disney and Florida. Disney Stock had hit an all-time high in March of 21, a pandemic high, go figure on that, and began its fall, well before anything DeSantis. By Feb of 22, it lost about 25% of its value, this was against a great quarter of park and streaming sales and before anything DeSantis. But there was a cloud of reduced streaming profits against massive number of new competitors hidden in the numbers and the market SLAMMED Disney, a month before Desantis (and just after I purchased my first lot of shares on the first sign of going down :>). I still believed, so then I doubled down, and there was DeSantis; I laughed, I cried, it became part of me.

      By July of 22, the market had soured on streaming, too many competitors making growth difficult. Disney was down almost 50%, some of which may have been DeSantis but certainly less than the 25% of the total fall and none of the 25% loss before DeSantis. Not many of them are faring well, Netflix may be on the block by now. By August of 22, Disney stock was up 20% from its trough, only months past the DeSantis debacle, took a slow dive until Dec of 22 when down another 20% or back to the trough. Since then, the stock has been sluggishly moving, more up than down, but generally flat, or down 50% from it’s all time high. But on par with it’s pre-pandemic value. Did the DeSantis war cripple Disney? No, Disney was in trouble before, and after, DeSantis. Today, they turned out a very good quarter and still got precious little in return on the stock. But the parks are full, streaming is up, prices are up, and margins getting better. India is doing poorly, it’s the biggest financial hit, but that’s not DeSantis. They are not quite dead yet and DeSantis is only a portion of the reason and hard to say how much given park and streaming numbers continue to grow. The 3rd Q numbers, with summer sales, will finally tell the tale, probably.

      Bush — they got slammed, no doubt. Could be long term, fungible product and the yo-ho’s are even drinking Mexican beer instead. Hey, this is InBev, a Belgium mega-drink producer, so even if they go belly up, good. I lamented the Bush sale since it happened; they were one of my favorite clients.

      Target — they are getting slammed, jury is out as to long term effect, not sure how big a Target customer the anti-gay crowd is.

      Gillette lost millions for 2019 ads? Good luck proving that given they are part of mega-consumer- commodity-product P&G, under extreme pressure due to “internet blades,” but a premier organization, one that I used as my mentor, that has sold high technology advantages in a commodity market. They even took an $8B write-down but, again, not only a number of reasons for it, but companies take advantage of all sorts of moments to claim a write-down. Can’t prove their woke-war losses, they are definitely up against fierce new competition, but I wouldn’t count them out ever. As far as I can tell, still a market share winner.

      But really, going after Gillette and Jack Daniels for stuff from 2019; these people are tough, I will say that.

      Anti-woke certainly has an economic effect on companies, some folks think it’s too much woke. This always is the way with radical social change like what we have seen since the Summer of Floyd. I just hope we end up in a better place then where we started from and feel sorry for all the Bud/Target/Disney/Jack/Gillette workers who will be affected by the political downturns. Personally, I see most of this as a tempest in a teapot. And I disagree with Larry about: “the anti-woke pushback is not anti-gay, anti-black, or anti-women — the extreme demands of the most radical elements within those communities. Woke appears to have gone too far for the average American.” First, many of these anti-woke people are NOT average Americans, they are as far right as Larry’s perceived far left woke intrusions that he often blames the average run-of-the-mill Democratic for. For every AOC, we have a few Pelosi’s to rein them in. When it comes to extreme, we have some, but you guys take the cake. Second, don’t be fooled, the radical right is shooting for trans and drag right now, low hanging fruit. But after they come for them, there is a not-average far right group in the Republican party that is most certainly going to come for the gays, perhaps the blacks, and more. Remember, these people promised there would always be access to choice in a State near you. There is not reasonable access in many States today only months after Row disbanded. The “plan” appears to be national in desire, not quite yet in scope, but increasing all the time in both size and scope. The lack-of-choice is already draconian in many places with intervals so short that people don’t even know they are pregnant, no choice for rape, no choice for incest, no choice for a number of defects, even possible arrest just for giving a pregnant person a ride to a choice state. When they say not coming for the gays, not coming for the blacks, based on precedent, you can’t believe that. IMO

  2. Mike f

    Larry, Unfortunately much of what you say about companies losing business due to their attempts to be inclusive is true, but the real takeaway from that is that conservatives are such snowflakes that they can’t deal with things that are “different” than what they want. Your governor exemplifies that attitude with his book bans, school curriculum control, as well as preventing any discussion that might lead students to believe that there are ‘gay’ people among them. You state that this is a winning concept, however if you take a look at candidate Desantis unfavorables, they have been increasing dramatically since people started learning about what he stands for-he has totally screwed himself nationally due to his ‘so-called war on woke’. Despite what you say-only in the most conservative areas is this type of action popular-you live in a little bubble of your own making where you see things the way you want to. Yes, there are conservatives that boycott bud light because they dared have a transgender pictured on a beer can-the only question I can ask is “so what?” If you weren’t told she was transgender, you’d never know it by looking at her. And the criticism of teaching students about what really happened in black history? Little Johnny might feel bad because his ancestors did some awful things? Give me a break, if this isn’t snowflake behavior with parents trying to protect their offspring from learning about some awful things that happened in the past, I don’t know what is. And preventing little Sandra from knowing that her teacher Mr Thomas has a husband rather than a wife? All of this anti-wokeness is quite disgusting and just shows how narrow minded conservatives really are….

    • Dan tyree

      Woke is a joke

    • larry Horist

      Franks Stetson … You called it the “don’t say gay bill.” Actually, it is the Parental Rights in Education Act — and deals with adult sexual and gender content across the board. So the reference to gay is misinformative — intended to mischaracterize the legislation. But then you wallow in misinformation. But after lecturing me on calling you pro-abortion — saying that I should respect your demand to be called pro-choice. According to you, we should respect whatever a persons wishes to be called. I am surprised that you would not respect the truth … the facts … and the name the Governor and legislature gave it. You are running against you own admonishment to me. That makes you also a hypocrite. No surprise there.

      • mike f

        Larry, The name of the bill may be the “parental rights in education bill”, but that is not the substance of it. It is definitely the “don’t say gay bill”. The substance of the bill is that teachers in your beloved state (run by your beloved governor) cannot mention that their spouse is of the same sex as they are. Your governor is afraid that children may realize that just because Mr Brown has a same sex partner, he really is not any different than Dad, other than the person that he loves. This is the 21st century, not the era when you grew up. Most people have realized that being gay is not a “lifestyle choice” but rather the way they are born. It is amazing to me that people actually do not want their children to understand that Mr Brown is no different from Daddy, except that he loves another man. Is only indicative of the narrow-mindedness of at least some of the people that vote republican, who your governor is trying to appeal to. Can you say “making a political issue out of nothing” which is what most of the conservative actions today are all about-riling up the base is what it is all about….

  1. There you go again raking up stories about obscure democrats who are of small consequence in the larger American political…