by Bob Barr
Imagine how much more difficult it would have been for America’s Apollo moon landing program to have succeeded as it did so spectacularly in 1969 had NASA scientists been subject to being fired for failing to use the correct pronouns when referring to their colleagues. Worse, consider if in the early 1950s as the world faced the scourge of polio, how many children’s lives would have been lost, if funding for Jonas Salk’s miracle polio vaccine research had been cut because the board of directors for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis lacked sufficient “diversity.”
America and the world would look far different today if “woke” politics were then as they are now.
Whereas once America’s exceptionalism could literally take us to the moon and back, today, half a century later, government cannot make even the most basic of decisions without coursing through a long list of regulatory and policy self-checks to ensure its actions will not be perceived as racist, sexist, jingoist, or in any way “triggering” to an individual or collective “victim” somewhere.
The disease of 21st century “wokeness” has become not only embarrassing, but crippling. Just ask our neighbor to the North, which has seen the Keystone XL Pipeline project stopped dead in its tracks, after millions already had been spent to construct it, solely because the new Biden Administration is beholden to the woke Green Crazies now in control of the Democrat Party.
If you are wondering how the country that once sent Hitler running to a Berlin bunker to die like a coward is now paralyzed to take decisive action against a worldwide pandemic because it does not want to step on the toes of international bureaucrats, self-serving liberal governors, or snowflake teachers, look no further than our new commander-in-chief, Joe Biden.
Despite the many serious problems our nation faced on January 20th when Biden sat for the first time at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, our “woke” leader chose to highlight “gender identity” in one of his first Executive Orders. This action was deemed by him to be necessary in order that “children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom.”
Despite generations of American children having survived 12 years of schooling without such rhetorical assistance, they now are armed with this explicit assurance from no less a savior than the president of the United States.
Virtue signaling to please progressive culture-scolds has become a substitute for substantive policy, to the degree that when the time arrives to solve real problems, officials are crippled by having to do what “looks” best, not what actually is best. Broadly considered, the extent to which policy decision-making now is at least to some degree dependent on Nanny State mandates, there is little opportunity for citizens to escape the leviathan of incompetent wokeness; even if it is a matter of life or death, such as with COVID-19.
Take, for instance, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was awarded an Emmy last year for his stellar COVID “performance.” Now, however, the Empire State’s CEO has the less glorious distinction of overseeing a state vaccine distribution program that threw away countless doses of this life-saving drug. This was not the fault of Republicans, Donald Trump, or pharmaceutical companies – the Left’s favored scapegoats. Rather, it was because the Brainiacs in Cuomo’s administration were obsessed with making sure vaccine distribution was perceived as impeccably “fair,” which meant putting into place vaccine distribution protocols so stringent that too few people qualified, and precious supplies were washed down the drain.
What should have been of America’s biggest health and technological triumph in modern history — developing a miracle vaccine faster than ever before — is being overshadowed by politically correct politicians, whiny teachers refusing to work, and a new president who would rather lecture citizens about perceived “transphobia” than use the power of his office to speed America’s recovery.
“Woke” Nanny Statism is the polar opposite of the quintessential American grit that saw a neophyte nation defeat the greatest military power on earth, and that later won the West, overcame polio, defeated the Axis powers, and set a standard for freedom for the entire world. Sadly, it now is American anti-Exceptionalism that focuses our national attention and efforts on the trivial use of made-up pronouns, instead of all the wonders our nation and our culture can accomplish for mankind.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.