The Left Is Racing to Get 'Woke' Enough, But Who Is in Charge of the Clattering Train?

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris recently denounced the riots which have shaken a number of largely Democratic-run cities. Some observers have suggested the riots are now hurting Biden’s presidential election prospects.


CNN’s Don Lemon and CNN’s Chris Cuomo discuss the damage Kenosha riots are doing to the Democratic party on Tuesday.

“The rioting has to stop,” Lemon said. “Chris, as you know and I know, it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing — it is the only thing right now that is sticking.”

Biden’s exhortations have not stopped the street action which had considerable momentum and support within the party. Only weeks before the Biden pivot Kamala Harris touted the protests as a movement that wouldn’t stop even after the elections. The Woke movement didn’t spring full-grown into existence. It was the outcome of years of growth. It seemed at first a form of academic mannerism, then an annoying political correctness before its present rampage. In retrospect what we were watching in its earlier incarnations were the baby steps of a monster.

As the monster grew it devoured even those who felt protected by impeccable liberal credentials. Former Atlantic pundit Andrew Sullivan found himself anathematized for objecting to the riots. David Klion, a writer at the Nation and the New Republic said, “If I’m reading this right, Andrew Sullivan more or less declares himself to be a fascist here,” referring to Sullivan’s blog post. Sullivan’s offensive text reads:

But here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does. In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.


J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter fame, was similarly cast out by the Kennedy family which had previously given her an award. Rowling’s unspeakable offense was claiming that womanhood was a biological fact.

Amid a relentless stream of criticism over her views on trans issues, the “Harry Potter” writer is giving back the prestigious Ripple of Hope Award given to her by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization last year….

In a statement on her website, Rowling, 55, said Kennedy “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic,” and as a result, Rowling returned the reward …

“She pulled the wool over our eyes for long enough,” one fan told The Post earlier this month. “This [‘Harry Potter’] community is definitely very diverse, and she basically spoke out against her entire community — it was like a slap in the face.”

Several “Harry Potter” actors, including Daniel Radcliffe, 31, have also spoken in support of trans women. In an essay published on The Trevor Project website, he said, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people…”

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Sullivan and Rowling are discovering that what they thought was liberalism and tolerance and enlightenment was really something else … it’s jumped out of the cage and wrapped itself around their face, a beast that simply cannot be appeased. Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon in apparent disregard of Biden’s riot pivot, ostentatiously refused reinforcement proffered by the federal government in a publicized letter to Trump, possibly in hopes it would earn him credit with the demonstrators.


 August 28, 2020

Dear President Trump:

Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city.

On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.

We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you.

Quite the contrary, no sooner had the mayor sent his letter to Trump then his own apartment was occupied by activists.

Activists occupy Portland mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment and aren’t leaving until he: resigns, abolishes the police by 2022 with no tech or private replacement, and allots saved resources to BIPOC communities and city services.

The protester’s demands contained a final kick to the mayor’s teeth.

We also demand that you – with your extreme wealth, nepotistic career history, and family legacy that highlight you as a true embodiment of white supremacy – resign from your position as the Police Commisioner and Mayor of Portland.

But at least Wheeler received only a figurative boot in the face. Senator Rand Paul came close to getting the real thing.

Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.

There was always an immense amount of hypergolic volatility contained in the Democratic Party “Big Tent.” Any alliance between an extreme elite (Wall Street, Ivy League, Hollywood, machine politicians) and a class of welfare recipients is fraught unless a large dose of hypocrisy keeps the conflicts from sparking. That function was performed by virtue signaling to disguise the sheer absurdity of the arrangement. The wider the disparity between the participants in the Big Tent the more social justice was required.


But the tension was always just beneath the surface and the amounts of virtue signaling required increased until it became unsustainable. The Social Justice Warriors were perpetually busy saving the marginalized from one new peril after the other as if the world was in continuous emergency and menaced by Nazis, racists, KKK, and Fascists at every turn.

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Eventually Woke signaling reached a point of absurdity with the Western left flailing at a cloud of causes continuously churned out by what the Chinese disparagingly labeled baizuo or “white left.” These causes crowd around the Woke like invisible hornets. The more the SJWs swat, the more insects there are. Even the hard-case commissars in Beijing watch in astonishment as the Western elites put on a clown suit and caper all over the stage.

Hillary’s 2016 defeat not only ceded the White House to the populist insurgents, it shifted the balance of power in the Big Tent in favor of the Democrat far left. The traditional old-time politicians are Woking for dear life, holding off the mobs with one radical promise after another, however absurd or destructive lest the canvas come down on their heads.

Now it is a question of whether they can still control the forces they’ve unleashed.

As Mayor Ted Wheeler remains shut out of his mob-occupied apartment and Joe Biden pleads unheeded for an end to the rioting one might well ask, as Winston Churchill did as he watched the Men of Munich grease the skids to disaster, “who is in charge of the clattering train?” Are we Woke but asleep?


Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
What is that sound? ‘Tis the stertorous breath
Of a slumbering man—and it smacks of death!
Full sixteen hours of continuous toil
Midst the fume of sulphur, the reek of oil,
Have told their tale on the man’s tired brain,
And Death is in charge of the clattering train!
For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;
And signals flash through the night in vain.
Death is in charge of the clattering train!

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