‘The Commons Seem Sober-Minded’

The commons hitherto seem sober-minded,
But their superiors are corrupt and blinded.
  • Theognis of Magara, circa 600 BC

Against the backdrop of a woke progressivism that’s come to dominate much of educational, social, business and governmental policy and discourse, there’s good news: the Left has greatly overplayed its hand.

Woke doctrines like critical race theory are easy enough to peddle to impressionable freshmen in the obscurity of college campuses, but parents aren’t buying.  And when progressives in government call them “terrorists” for doing so, they only further demonstrate their instinct for the exercise of naked power those parents so pointedly rejected and will again. 

Turning once-beautiful cities like Seattle and San Francisco into cess pits of open crime commission, drug addiction and use, public defecation, etc. turns out to be a poor plan for electoral success.  Preaching race hatred is too.  Contrary to the woke progressive narrative, the police aren’t the danger to poor communities, but crime is, and defunding them makes those communities far more dangerous, not less.  The highest one-year increase in the U.S. murder rate casts the woke progressive narrative in a less than flattering light.  Who could have guessed?

So San Francisco Mayor London Breed, suddenly aware that voters have choices, has done a sharp about-face on crime.  That was smart, given that those same voters have now booted out of office three woke school board members who seemed to believe they were elected not to improve the schools, but to rename them, not to teach readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic, but to inculcate critical race theory into elementary-school-aged children.  Voters in one of the most liberal cities in the country buried them in a landslide sending them off by margins of 72% - 79%.  Those voters weren’t happy.

Nor are the ones in Los Angeles.  The move to recall George Gascón as District Attorney is gaining steam.  Lawyers in the DA’s Office have openly rebelled and are calling for his ouster.  They voice the odd notion that their job is to enforce the law, not make social policy and even think that violent criminals should be behind bars so they no longer pose a danger to law-abiding citizens.  Strange, I know.

In 2020, California voters once again rejected an effort to make race a consideration in college admissions, employment, etc.  Democratic candidates in Virginia learned that parents really do have a say in their children’s education.  Woke Seattle city council members were turned out of office, the Minneapolis referendum to defund the police failed.  The Freedom Convoy stood up against Trudeau’s unwarranted policies on COVID and, since then, his popularity, never high, has taken a dive.  And President Biden, nervously eying the coming Election Day, avoided the word “equity” in his State of the Union address just 13 months after declaring it to be the central feature of “the whole of our government.”

Meanwhile, Americans of Asian heritage are up in arms.  They’ve sued Harvard University and the school board of Fairfax County, Virginia for racial discrimination against their kids.  The former case is headed to a Supreme Court whose majority seems to cling to the odd notion that racial discrimination violates the U.S. Constitution plus various federal and state laws.  Meanwhile, in the second case, the plaintiffs defeated the school board at the trial level after which the district judge wrote a decision calling the board’s policy “patently unconstitutional.”

Apparently unknown to the progressive Left, it turns out that there are things called “laws” that, in a free country, people can use to right the wrongs imposed on them by those in power.  It also turns out that there is a thing called “voting” that can be used to deny power to those who abuse it.  Finally, there’s something called “a huge majority of people who aren’t woke progressives” who have a say in what happens in their communities and country.  

Leftists assumed that the madness they peddled would be bought by the rest of us without question, just like they did, or that we simply would have no choice but to go along.  They were wrong.  Just how far and in which direction the pushback goes, remains an open question.  But the dynamics of democracy, free speech, due process of law, access to courts and a belief in individual autonomy and equality are seldom predictable and never conform to any ideology.  That’s not only a good thing, it’s the best thing.  In the end, it has a resilience that no other political or social form has.  And it means that We the People retain a modicum of power, too little, I know, and always under threat, but still some.


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