To awaken or to sleepwalk

To awaken or to sleepwalk

I recently had a conversation with one of my co-workers, I mentioned a video I watched about someone claiming that Gen Z’s are having financial problems because they’re drinking too many margaritas (the person in the video incidentally own a restaurant that serves margaritas for $13 to $17). While my co-worker agreed that said person’s claim was ludicrous, he quickly made the unusual leap that most of the problems in the world are due to “woke garbage”. Ignoring the fact that our conversation had nothing to do with woke, I still found it rather odd that he came to such an equally ludicrous conclusion. To claim woke is to blame for most of the world’s problems is like claiming firefighters are to blame for fires starting in the first place, as if house fires wouldn’t happen if there weren’t firefighters to put them out.

It always amazes me how people can be blinded to their own hypocrisy. My co-worker for example, often complains that “we’re babying people”, yet whenever a mass shooting occurs and there’s talk of gun regulation he starts whining about such laws only hurt the “good” gun owners. He once told me, gun control laws won’t stop mass shootings but will only hurt the paintball industry and thus the economy. I’m not sure how big a role the paintball industry plays in Canada’s (or America’s) economy but I’m sure it’s very, very small. He claims people are “too sensitive” yet during his rant he was getting all upset about the trans community; insisting that there are only “two genders”, ignoring the fact that it’s not about creating a new gender but respecting people’s right to choose which gender they identify with regardless if it matches the gender you were born into (not to mention our conversation had nothing to do with transgender). His justification being that some people look androgynous, thus he doesn’t know whether to use “he” or “she”. It sounds to me like he’s saying people shouldn’t be allowed to choose their gender identity because he’s afraid he might accidentally call them by the wrong gender pronoun. Seems to me like he’s the one whose overly sensitive. My co-worker is also very critical of Putin’s unjust invasion of Ukraine (he’s not wrong about that) yet his solution to the problem is for the rest of the world to simply invade and attack Russia like their doing to Ukraine. In other words, stop the war in Ukraine by starting World War III. He was also married to a woman who wouldn’t get an abortion due to her religious beliefs, despite his wish to not have children – as he pointed out, they couldn’t afford to have one – yet he seems to object to abortion rights on the grounds that (in his mind) women seem to be arbitrarily aborting their unborn children because the whim randomly strikes them at the spur of the moment (which again is totally inaccurate). I also find it ironic that he’s a militant atheist who criticizes religion for encouraging people to blindly follow the church, yet also stated that the problem with young people is that they “think for themselves”. So he doesn’t want people to follow religion but also doesn’t want them to think for themselves? He wants them to blindly follow someone else? His views and beliefs maybe?

As a “woke progressive” myself, woke is about treating others with respect, about acknowledging the problems of the world and working to find solutions to them. It’s about opening your eyes and seeing the truth, that we are all one and by hurting one another we’re indirectly hurting ourselves. That’s what being woke means; as in you’ve “awoken” to see the truth. To see through the illusion that we’re all separate. Yet according to my co-worker, that’s a bad thing? Trying to fix something that’s broken will somehow make things worse? The best solution is to ignore problems and they’ll just go away? That’s like being on a ship, lost at sea, in the middle of a storm. Being tossed around at the whim of the wind and waves. Knowing your vessel could capsize any minute. And when someone comes along and offers to show you a way out of the storm, to guide your ship safely back to shore, instead of accepting their help, you blame them for being trapped in the storm and insisting that continuing to let the waves toss you about will somehow get you safely back to shore. It’s as the law of attraction states, “what you resist persists”. The more you view the world as a negative place full of problems, the more problems you see everywhere you look. Let’s be perfectly honest here, most conservatives use “woke” like “socialism” or “communism”. When they use these terms, it really means “I don’t like this”. “Pay poor people a descent wage?! WE CAN’T THAT’S COMMUNISM! THAT’S WOKE!” “Universal healthcare?! THAT’S SOCIALISM! THAT’S WOKE!” “Starbucks discontinued my favourite frappuccino?! THEY’RE RUN BY WOKE COMMUNISTS!” Ironically my anti-woke co-worker supports better wages for the working class and universal healthcare. (I don’t know about whether or not he likes Starbucks though, but that’s another matter.)

As I stated in my next book, Mystical Force: Vol. 5 Shadows and Darkness (which should be out early spring):

While her [Chiyoko, one of my characters] life was far from perfect, it was all she’d known. That was one of the strange things about people; they often seemed more afraid of uncertainty. A life of hell still seemed better than the chance that paradise may not be as perfect as we’d like. Better the devil you know, Chiyoko recalled hearing on more than one occasion.

Ultimately this is the real reason conservatives attack “woke” as being a bad thing. They’re lashing out in fear of that which they don’t understand, or don’t want to understand. Because they fear change, that which is different/unfamiliar; thus they’d rather continue on the same path our society has been on for centuries, even when they know it’s not getting us to where we say we want to go as a society. As someone once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So be not afraid of change dear reader, for you can no more stop society from progressing, from evolving than you can stop the sun from rising in the morning, or cause the river to reverse course and flow upstream.

As Greta Thunberg once stated, “They are starting to get more and more desperate. This shows that we’re winning.” and she’s correct. Conservatives and the radical right are so desperate to stop “woke”, despite having no valid arguments to support their claims that they’ll say anything. They’re so desperate to fight woke, that any argument, no matter how convoluted, baseless or without fact or merit is still valid in their mind.

I should also point out that my co-worker has numerous health problems and has missed several days of work due to health related issues. The sad truth is, my co-worker brings most of these problems on himself. We all know that stress and poor mental health can cause physical ailments. The irony is that in doing so, in “worrying yourself sick” you make yourself sick, which in turn causes you to miss work, lose money and in turn creates more stress. Thus it becomes a vicious cycle. While a part of me genuinely feels sorry for my co-worker and his son who also has medical issues, another part of me – I’m sorry to say – also thinks, “You brought this on yourself. You have no one to blame but yourself.” Forgive me if that sounds cold but I’m simply being honest. I admit I sometimes have a nasty habit of telling the truth, even when people don’t want to hear it. People say you need to “pick your battles”, so ask yourself these questions, “Is this the hill I’m willing to die on? Is it really worth it?”

The real problem here is the choice being made. Ultimately, all of us have only two real choices in life: do we embrace love, or do we surrender to fear? Which do you choose?

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