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Point: To Be Woke Is to Be MAGA

For another viewpoint, see: Counterpoint: The War on Woke is Scam on Middle America

Critics can’t agree on what “woke” means. Going back a bit into our history is the idea of Black people being “woke” from the oppression of the White man and what we, as a society, can do about it. However, the term has been appropriated for a variety of left-wing causes.

On the other side of this is MAGA. What is this MAGA movement, and what does it mean to be in it?

Like woke, being MAGA is also hard to define.

Most political movements have difficulty defining themselves, and finding the right label has been a challenge.

For example, I’m a libertarian republican, but hawkish. A contradiction in our basic political terminology. Just as calling me MAGA would be inaccurate, so, perhaps too, is calling me conservative, depending on who’s talking at any given moment.

The woke idea has been appropriated mainly by White liberals at the expense of Black people and has come with such force because the authoritarian tendencies from the left leave you woke or out of the crowd.

The White liberal political groupthink that comes with the term, and the movement for transgender rights, a mainly trendy White problem, continues to transform as Whites exploit civil rights for White aims. Woke, at this point, varies from non-racist or even anti-racist to acculturate leftist movements that have little to do with whether I’m going to be gunned down by police while eating a donut.

Like woke, MAGA has become a word and a movement taken from its small-government, dovish roots and hijacked, not from liberal authoritarian Whites but Christian nationalist authoritarian Whites and/or the alt-right.

Instead of reveling in shrinking the government and protecting borders, MAGA has become a rallying cry for a minority of White conservatives who see a browning America and want to make adjustments to the racial harmony of the country. Some commenters at the Charlottesville, Va., rally went so far as to advocate for a country that is 85 percent White and Christian. Where the hell does that come from? Donald Trump certainly never, ever, suggested anything like this.

Woke and MAGA appear to be at odds with each other, but they have some similarities in goals that are worth noting. Not to silence the cries of Black people with legitimate complaints, MAGA wants more police training and more funding for law enforcement. If the left thinks more money will fix the schools, why won’t it fix the police? Why is it anti-woke to even suggest it?

At the heart of the Black community are serious deficits in education. Like the GOP before it, MAGA seeks to push hard for school vouchers. Not because White donors can’t afford it but because too many Black students can’t. They want those kids in school with their kids, and the right-wing fight against the soft segregation of public school districts is noteworthy and important.

While we’ll continue to hear authoritarians try to use terminology and labels to divide the public by race, religion and partisanship, we must remember that our struggles and hardships end up hurting us all the same, even after the division. The question we should be confronting is how these terms are used to divide us, and we should be answering it by seeing our common enemy and fighting that instead.

To be woke is to be MAGA, as both movements are about ensuring an equitable and fair society. A society where the nation’s underclasses, across racial lines, have been abandoned by the institutions that govern us and the leaders of movements primarily interested in enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

We need to ignore these labels to establish a consensus in moving America forward and finally making America great again for everyone.

VALYO: Vote for Democrats to Preserve Democracy

EDITOR’S NOTE: For another view, see “McGarrigle: Why Voters Should Vote for Republicans.”


On Tuesday, November 8, Americans will once again head to the polls to exercise one of our most important rights – the right to vote. This year, however, the stakes are higher than they have ever been before as the differences between candidates go beyond policy.

Rather, we are choosing between those who believe in truth, democracy, and freedom and those who embrace dangerous election lies, hateful rhetoric, and political violence. The best way to protect our democracy, keep the government out of our bedrooms and doctors’ offices, and stop the spread of MAGA extremism is to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.

It should come as no surprise that in normal election cycles, I also strongly believe that voting for Democrats is the best decision. Ordinarily, that is for policy reasons. But there is nothing ordinary about this year. We have one party – the Republican Party – that has been taken over by far-right extremists, including some calling for violence against our elected officials and institutions.

The Republicans are not even pretending to appeal to moderates anymore. Their platform calls for, among other things, a national ban on abortion; support for total and absolute gun rights; rejection of sound climate science and backward-looking energy policies that prop up the fossil fuel industry; drastic cuts and changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid relied on by millions of citizens; elimination of the Affordable Care Act which would lead to loss of insurance and coverage for pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans; and, of course, more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, forcing the tax burden down onto middle-class Americans and shockingly, even the poorest among us.

Moreover, we have the continued assault on our electoral system based on the “big lie” created by former President Donald Trump and his allies. We are learning every day just how deep and terrifying this assault really is. Across the country, Republicans are trying to take over election boards, county commissions, city councils, and school boards to force their dangerous view of the world on the rest of us.

We are seeing these forces at work right here in Pennsylvania where the Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, has made controlling elections, through his power to appoint the secretary of state and certify voting machines, a central tenet of his campaign. He supports a complete ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or even the health of the mother, and even supports charging a woman who had an abortion with murder.

His historically extreme education policy would cut public education funding by half and he has vowed to turn Pennsylvania into the Florida of the North. No, thank you. Beyond Harrisburg, our U.S. Senate and House races are also vital for protecting our democracy. If Republicans take control of the U.S. House and Senate all progress stops in terms of fighting inflation, global warming, women’s rights, common-sense gun control, civil rights, and protecting our elections.

That’s why we here in Chester County need to throw our support behind Democratic candidates at all levels, from our state legislature, to governor, to the House of Representatives, to the U.S. Senate. Our very democracy is on the ballot in November and there is only one party intent on preserving it, for everyone.


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