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Un-Civil Rights: America’s Fear of Diversity in 2020

Emil Photo Again Edited 61b7dabb61239

Have the war protests started? Are your students beginning to wonder about military service and the importance of a draft?

Our country’s constitutional crisis seems to be coming to a head as we deal with a president who insists he can do anything he wants.

Go to war without Congressional approval? Why not, if he can do as he wishes without Congress like withhold millions of approved money to  Ukraine, an ally at war, or block a co-equal branch of government from oversight and investigation.

What do you expect from a president who prefers executive orders to real legislation.

It’s one way to start 2020 with a bang.

But I’m more concerned about the domestic fight within our country.

I’m starting to see things expressed in the mainstream media that prove that people of color in the U.S. have much more to fear than we thought.

More than retribution from Iran, we need to fear the retribution from within our great nation–from people like Peggy Noonan, who is cheering on those who are ready to aggressively  stand up to the “progressive woke.”

Noonan is a small woman with a big platform.

The former Reagan speechwriter just wrote one of the most hateful things I’ve seen in a mainstream publication in a long time.

It stopped me cold. She prefers us to go back in our “wokeness” to maybe de-woke. And she’s cheering others to help us out, but in a bad way.

Her Wall Street Journal column over the weekend (Jan. 4-5, 2020 edition), is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Titled “Warren Zevon’s Wisdom for the 2020s,” you might have skipped it for holiday zone puffery.

But I read it because Noonan has written so many disagreeable things in the past that I thought her column featuring the rocker Zevon might soften her perspective of the next decade. Maybe even reveal some common ground of humanity.

No such luck.

The last two graphs are a green light to conservatives that hate is OK (just like that White power sign).

Emil GuillermoEmil Guillermo

But it’s also a warning to all people of color.

Noonan writes:

“The past decade saw the rise of the woke progressives who dictate what words can be said and ideas held, thus poisoning and paralyzing American humor, drama, entertainment, culture, and journalism.”

As a relatively woke progressive engaged in all those things she mentions, and who also believes in free speech, I leaned in.

It was a sucker punch.

“In the coming 10 years someone will effectively stand up to them,” she continued with a prediction that has almost a vengeful blood lust. “They are the most hated people in America, and their entire program is accusation; you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic; you are a bigot, a villain, a white male, a patriarchal misogynist, your day is over. They never have a second move. Bow to them, as most do and they’ll accuse you even more of newly imagined sins. They claim to be vulnerable victims, and moral. Actually they’re not. They’re mean and seek to kill, and like all bullies are cowards.”

That is one loaded paragraph. And the people with guns are Noonan and her ilk.

Noonan should know better if she truly has read her American history and understands how the U.S. has treated every racial and gender minority throughout the decades from Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, to women and the LGBTQIA.

Who’s been bullying whom all these years?

Or are the last graphs of her column a way she sets up a self-defense argument for an armed revolt against the “woke?”

And what is the opposite of “woke?” Silent submission? A return to the 30s, 40s, and 50s? That’s some nostalgia Noonan prefers.

But this is the right-wing take by the former Reaganite. And it’s just gussied-up hate speech, cheering, hoping for a violent reaction from those under the rocks who in the Trump era have found mainstream acceptance.

“Everyone with an honest mind hates them [the woke progressives]. Someone will finally move effectively against them. Who? How? That will be a story of the ’20s, and a good one.”

A good one? She predicts in print a violent reaction against her fellow Americans and can’t wait?

It’s just more of the normalization of hate and the acceptance of authoritarianism in our society.

It’s the reason impeaching Donald Trump was important, because no one, not even the president, is above the law.


But here’s where this is all leading. Conservatives in power are all for a strongman leader, as long as it helps maintain and grow their own status.

In other words, those with more rights won’t mind giving up some of their rights in order to put those with fewer rights in line.

Call it the New Civil Rights of the new decade.

It’s the backlash against the forecast of the last thirty years that by the mid-2020s, minorities would become the majority.

Now, instead of embracing that emerging diversity, and using her platform to offer real wisdom, with a “we are one country” rhetoric and calls for unity and understanding, Noonan sees it as a warning as she chooses to fan the flames from her WSJ perch, like a market timer looking for a correction.

In this case, it’s a violent, anti-diversity message.

It’s despicable, vile, and as un-American as it gets.

And those pushing  it have the president’s ear.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator, who writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.  You can follow him on Twitter @emilamok

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