Politics - News Analysis

DeSantis Aides Define ‘Woke’ … Under Oath, Suddenly Explain it Quite Well

Turns out that having a MAGA define “woke” outside of a political speech is a bit tougher than thought and one has to be a bit more “generous” to those who are “woke.”

If one asks the average progressive Democrat what it means to be “woke” now, they’ll mostly roll their eyes at what was once a useful term. If forced, that liberal would say something about listening to marginalized communities and seeing systemic racism, misogyny, homophobia, the difficulty in changing any of it, and mostly, just how deeply it penetrates into the “assumptions”, we make about society. Hence the term “woke.” We didn’t realize how deeply these things were embedded in areas that seemed inapplicable.

But when DeSantis’s MAGAs were challenged in court to come up with a definition, they were a bit more superficial and confused. From Florida Politics.

What does “woke” mean? During the three-day trial this week challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, attorneys for Warren were able to put that question to aides for DeSantis.

Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ Communications Director said “woke” was a “slang term for activism, progressive activism” and a general belief in systemic injustices in the country. Ryan Newman, DeSantis’ General Counsel, echoed the part about systemic injustices, specifically regarding the criminal justice system.

That can’t quite be right because the opposite of woke must be “asleep,” except no one is “intentionally staying asleep,” so it must be that they know there is existing injustice but are a part of that system and are actively fighting to keep it. There was a bit better answer offered.

Asked what “woke” means more generally, Newman said “it would be the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”

That would seem to be a little better. There is nothing wrong with saying that there are systemic injustices (We always hear the need to form a “more perfect union), and so “the need to address the systemic injustices” doesn’t sound quite as bad as an answer.

But look at where it leaves these two. We don’t have the entire transcript, and yet both make being “woke” (somewhat as we use it) sound like a reasonable concern, and one of the only reasons to oppose being “woke” would be the desire to preserve those systemic inequalities by refusing to acknowledge that these injustices exist, at least out of court.

It is interesting to hear two committed MAGAs (DeSantis aides) have to define woke as a real term while under oath. It doesn’t make the people who refer to themselves as “woke” sound so bad, so unreasonable, and definitely not very dangerous unless you like the injustices.

meet the author

Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He now enjoys life as a single dad raising a ridiculously-loved young girl on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He is very much the dreamy mystic, a day without learning is a day not lived. He is passionate about his flower pots and studies philosophical science, religion, and non-mathematical principles of theoretical physics. Dogs, pizza, and love are proof that God exists. "Above all else, love one another."


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