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To my “woke” fellow Americans:
As a forty-something conservative woman, I think you are leading the country to disaster with your rigid codes of conduct, your rejection of the US and its values, and the divisions you inflame among American citizens. Why should you listen to me? For what it’s worth, I have a perspective broadened by living overseas. I’ve witnessed the contrasts in living conditions between the US and other parts of the world. I know something of the gulf in worldviews that results, outside the West, in truly culturally acceptable favoritism and inequality.
Also, I share with you knowledge of thousands of years of human history, with the same access you have to the flood of texts written about the past and its brutalities, mass poverty, and rule by impulsive monarchs. More recently, there were experiments in Communism, resulting in harsh authoritarian regimes and the deaths of millions of innocents. In our national debates, we do not emphasize these thoroughly documented nightmares to the extent we refer to the evils of Nazism, but Communism continues to instill fear and oversee mass starvation in countries like North Korea.
Finally, I speak as an average American: a woman, raised in a conservative environment with the Christian faith, with nothing in the way of wealth, connections, or unusual drive to give me a head start. Yet I have experienced for myself the best life has to offer–encouragement to flourish, a rich education, and a vocation I love–in addition to the gifts of motherhood and family. I want for nothing.
I am aware that my last qualification is actually an impediment in your eyes–that my degree of attainment can be swept aside as an easily dismissed exception, owing to my membership in a favored group. However, I’ll add this to make my point: my life in America has me surrounded by women of all backgrounds whose experience has paralleled mine. I’ve loved teaching and living in communities made up of Americans from a variety of ethnicities, many of whom, just as my family did, grew into the American prosperity expected of the average person over the last couple of generations.
I have personally benefited from the economic and cultural advancement of the last few decades, and so have my friends. The beautiful homes for ordinary people, the expensive smartphones, the crowded restaurants, the affordable community colleges, the accessibility and sheer variety of food, the array of life choices, the technological advancements on all fronts, and the fact that I can contribute to a national conversation–all these give concrete testament to the fact that our foundational values and free-market system have indeed created “a rising tide” that has lifted a great many boats.
To sum up my view, I do not believe that the “woke” ideology is informed by these economic, historical, and cultural realities that many, if not most of us, experience. You want to tear down and rebuild the US according to your awakened vision, but in doing so, you will create new problems. Due to human nature, you will never find a perfect system. A survey of history and tour of the globe illustrates that some systems are far worse than others. Ordinary citizens of the US enjoy freedom, wealth, and opportunity incomprehensible to people of other times and places. There may be noble intentions at work in your movement, but the means of accomplishing these ends will just compound the suffering and power differentials repeated through mankind’s wretched history while reversing any real progress made toward improving the quality of life for ordinary men and women.
By all means, point out the places where we are not living up to our own standards and ultimate values, so we can better address them. But this all-or-nothing approach exemplified in the mantra of “dismantling” structures shows that you know not what you speak. In your discussions of current issues, you often use the model of a spectrum. Our country’s development could fairly be discussed in the same terms. We are on a spectrum of growth–we’re not all bad, and we’ll never be all good. But by many measures, we are further along on that spectrum than others.
Be an encouragement, a positive voice to your fellow American citizens. Build up, don’t dismantle. Use your gifts to be teachers and leaders that inspire others to love their flawed country, raise their children well, and contribute to their communities. Because, like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” plot from my generation, the revolutionary narrative you have chosen will loop us right back to chapters of history with the same sorry ending too much of humanity has already had to endure.
I have several more points to make, but they will have to wait, as the “vocation I love” requires me to sign off for now.
A Happy 99 PercenterPublished in