It’s late May, 2022. In the Republic of Colombia, the presidential electoral process starts on Sunday with the possibility of change (at long last) in the air. Possibly a real progressive populist evolution that will obviate the need for an eventual revolution. In the United States, the antithesis reigns: a country divided against itself and at war with too much of the outside world, a country currently orchestrating the massacre of the Ukrainian people in order to teach the Russians a lesson, and to assuage hurt feelings in the Biden administration with respect to its Afghan fiasco, and Coronavirus response fiasco, and its economic fiasco, and its electoral prospects.
The world is full of devastating problems but, ironically, even more full of potential solutions. No one need go to sleep hungry, or be denied access to a complete educational cycle, or fail to receive required medical treatment or medications, or lack adequate housing or clothing or food, or lack income adequate for an acceptable albeit not luxurious lifestyle, or live in fear of violent conflicts. Yet most of the world’s population suffers from each of the foregoing maladies while a tiny fragment lives in incredible luxury, a fragment whose wealth would be sufficient to ameliorate all of the world’s physical problems. But even if that privileged, elite, micro-minority was too greedy to share its ill-gotten (in most cases) wealth, all funds required to guarantee every human being a decent lifestyle could be obtained if we just minimized our war and hegemonic related addictions.
Why don’t we adopt available, obviously reasonable postures? Why can’t we, as a global society (or at least enough of us), wake up and smell the roses (or the coffee, I’m writing from Colombia after all)?
Unfortunately, a great deal of the problem ironically lies at the feet of the purportedly “woke” cancel cultural warriors among us, the incredibly non-productive supercilious “woke” who do more damage to the causes they espouse than do such causes’ most vehement opponents. Who instead of helping to resolve or at least to minimize the social and economic problems against which they rail, exacerbate them, exacerbate racism and misogyny; do nothing to help attain peace, or promote education and healthcare for all, or political reform. They rant against “bullying” by others, while most actively engaging in that practice against anyone and everyone who does not immediately and unconditionally accept their poorly thought out postulates. But their ranting and raving and rioting and calumny and criticism and ridicule and bullying only polarize us all and generate mass resistance to the policies needed to resolve our economic and sociopolitical dilemmas.
If they were malevolent Machiavellians it would make sense. Perhaps some are, but in general, they don’t seem cognitively talented enough to orchestrate such a strategy. Rather, they just seem inept, albeit very loudly so, magnifying their presence through expertise in trolling, bad manners and weak attempts at satire and irony. Name calling and moral posturing is their style. The corporate media, the Hollywood mafia and the Lords of the Internet love them, as does the Deep State. But the large majority of people who, at its most critical and elemental levels, make this world function (albeit dysfunctionally) are largely repelled by them, especially by their autocratic and intolerant tendencies. Incoherent tendencies such as censorship in pursuit of open discussions and the truth, the “woke’s” current mantra.
But what to do about them. We purportedly coincide in goals: peace, non-violent conflict resolution, equity, justice, real common welfare, sustainable economic development equitably and efficiently shared, minimization of corruption and impunity. But, rather than help attain any of the foregoing, they make them all less and less likely, much less likely, bordering on the impossible.
The “woke” seem to be a strange brew of old, failed activists and naïve young attention seekers, each full of misguided energy, all too easy to manipulate by cynics who see them as useful tools, tools not to affect change, but to calcify the status quo.
How to really wake the “woke” up from their misguided stupor? How not to waste their energy and good, albeit misguided, intentions. How to attain that which they and we all need and most of us seek?
Wouldn’t it be great if the foregoing were more than mere rhetorical questions? How might we harness the energy of the young, the experience of the downtrodden yearning for equity and the wisdom that age sometimes brings to make of this world something in which we can all share justifiable pride?
Hopefully, perhaps, starting this Sunday, May 29, 2022, we in Colombia can start providing some answers.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.