While Americans have spent the last decade and a half at each other’s throats over issues like saluting the flag, the Second Amendment, bathrooms in schools, climate change, and Supreme Court justices, a megalomaniac in eastern Europe has been methodically planning catastrophe in Europe.
And as we watched Russian tanks roll toward Kyiv this past week, I bet I was not the only one to wonder, “what have we been doing for the last twenty years?” While we have been dividing ourselves, a dictator with a longing for the good ol’ days of communism has been exploiting those fissures as a distraction while he made himself invulnerable to sanctions and geared up his military machine.
So it should not come as a surprise that in the week that the tanks finally rolled, Americans distracted ourselves once again with the “Stop WOKE Act” in Florida and the expansion of an investigation into a former president who brought records to his home in Florida.
While our fellow human beings, who have done nothing to instigate or bring war upon themselves, make the choice to flee their homes as refugees, we point fingers at the other team, knowing in the back of our minds that only by luck have we avoided the fate of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. But for how long really?
This is how far we have fallen. The “Stop WOKE Act.” I’m not a woke sympathizer. But I think every human being has dignity and deserves the respect they have earned. Discrimination is not only immoral, it is stupid and against our economic and social interests. Acknowledging that discrimination is alive and well in the world, and then taking small steps in our homes and communities to stop its spread is noble and good for each of us.
Ignoring the problem does not solve it. Denying the problem simply exacerbates it and empowers its grossest practitioners. It’s pretty simple.
I don’t want to be told that I am responsible for the suffering that minority and underrepresented populations have experienced for generations. I like to think that by doing the job that I do, I am helping in some incremental way to shed light on the problem and erode it.
But let’s be honest. I am a white man. I have a leg up. I never had a problem getting a loan, even when I did not have money. I did not have to worry about finding an apartment to rent when I got married three decades ago. And when I applied for a job, I knew I was being assessed solely on merit. Even when it came to pay, I knew that as a white man, I would be at the top of the pay scale.
I wasn’t born on third base. I legged out my triple. But I got to the plate with a solid piece of lumber, a clean uniform, and good coaching.
The “Stop WOKE Act” is a silly creation of myopic politicians who believe they can legislate away discussion of difficult topics. It will allow employees to sue employers for discrimination if an employer engages in training or discussions about Black history or other concepts of injustice and discrimination.
It is divisive, creates distrust, and turns our common sense understanding of discrimination on its head. Is it any wonder that a dictator on the other side of the world feels emboldened to invade a peaceful neighbor without fear of consequence.
Eric Brown is an attorney with offices in Connecticut. He can be reached at 888-579-4222 or online at www.thelaborlawyer.com.