“If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner.’ And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?'”
-- Elizabeth Warren after dropping out of the 2020 presidential race
Elizabeth Warren blames sexism for the reason why she didn’t do well as a presidential candidate, but is this true? I would argue (as would many others) that the real reason she didn’t do well in the 2020 presidential primaries is because she was a poor candidate who ran a weak campaign.
Warren started out strong enough, but then her campaign quickly spiraled into a desperate display of identity politics, starting with when she, out of the blue, accused political opponent Bernie Sanders of saying (in 2018, during a private conversation) that a woman could never be president. When Sanders denied all of this during one of the primary debates, Warren approached him with a hot mic and said, “Did you call me a liar on national TV?” The whole confrontation seemed contrived and hardly anybody believed her. They could smell the desperate cheap shot a mile away. It was obvious Warren wanted to make herself out to be a victim of sexism in order to give a little more gas to her campaign, which was basically puttering out like a dying engine at that point. It didn’t work.
Warren didn’t learn her lesson, though. Her identity politics reached a level of absurd desperation when, later in January, she promised to allow a nine-year-old transgender child choose her secretary of education. This proposal was such an egregious display of pandering to “woke” culture that you may have thought you were watching a political satire. But you weren’t. She was serious.
In short, Warren didn’t fail as a presidential candidate because of sexism; she failed because she didn’t run on much except an unhealthy dose of identity politics that ultimately reached the level of absurdity.
Sexism undoubtedly exists—there’s no question about it—but Warren’s cry of sexism as the reason why her campaign failed is unhealthy and dangerous. It makes women out to be victims in a situation where they’re not. Recklessly fueling a culture of victimization like Warren does (and many others do in this day and age) ultimately leads to the disempowerment of those “victims”. When you’re convincing people they’re a victim, you’re doing them no favors, and when you’re doing this for the sole purpose of political gain, it’s devious and destructive.
Such a weaponization of victimhood is a microcosm of what’s wrong with woke culture in general. On the surface of wokeness, there is a veneer of well-intentioned social justice activism. But go beyond that surface and you find, in many cases, an encouragement—even a celebration—of victimhood, which, in turn, disempowers the individual. In other words, wokeness is like an energetic vampire that feeds off the life-force of people, sucks them dry until they’re disempowered victims.
Does this mean that social justice activism is bad? No, there is definitely such a thing as a healthy dose of social justice activism. It’s questionable, however, whether being “woke” is always healthy. As seductive as wokeness is for people who want to be good or for people who want to at least appear to be good, there is a dark side to woke culture. Energetic vampires like the many politicians we see rising into the public eye today view social justice activism as an opportunity to exploit a culture of good intentions and use it to empower themselves while disempowering others.
What’s left in the wake of wokeness is a culture of victims dependent on those who desire to rule over them. Indeed, that’s the intention: create powerless victims who look to you to be saved. You become their father or, even better, you become their God.
MATT BURNS is the author of several books, including such novels as THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON, JOHNNY CRUISE and WEIRD MONSTER, and such memoirs as GARAGE MOVIE: MY ADVENTURES MAKING WEIRD FILMS and JUNGLE F’NG FEVER: MY 30-YEAR LOVE AFFAIR W/ GUNS N’ ROSES. In addition, he has published a book of political/social essays THE BURNZO PAPERS and a book of poetry. Check out all his books at his Amazon author page HERE.