Unless one has been living under a rock, it is common knowledge that the favorite buzzword from radical right wingers is “woke.” The term is applied to everything they don’t like. If someone acts decently towards a woman, gay person, trans person, or person of color, they are immediately panned as “woke.” Any empathy, sympathy, or compassion is now “woke.”

But aside from just using the intended insult, it seems trying to find an actual definition of the word “woke” can be a daunting task. Joy Reid learned that when interviewing the Florida congressional member who was thrust into the spotlight last week after being nominated several times for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Byron Donalds.

Donalds agreed to be interviewed by Reid on her MSNBC show on Tuesday evening. It might be a decision he regrets. During the interview, Donalds began a rant about how “wokeness” is ruining the military.

Donalds: “I’m going to jump around to a couple members you discussed. Mike Rogers on Armed Services. One of the reasons we have to get into some woke policies at the Department of Defense is because recruitment is down at the Department of Defense. If our military is not prepared to deal with battles in the future, because recruitment is down, shouldn’t we go and investigate all of the things—”

At that point, Reid cut him off looking for some more explanation than Donalds was offering in his filibuster.

Reid: “Hold on a second. Hold on. What are woke policies at the Department of Defense?”

Donalds: “Here’s what I’m telling you. If there are issues at the Department of Defense that are decreasing recruitment, because the numbers are crystal clear at this point, and we have many members of our military who have complained about some of the programs going on at DOD, we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of that.”

No examples, no defining of the word, just a baseless claim about complaints.

From there, Donalds tried to flip the subject over to “entitlements like Social Security.

Donalds: “My friend Jodey Arrington wants to look into the budget and also look into entitlements. Do you know social security is going to be insolvent in 2035?”

Reid wasn’t going to let Donalds off the hook there either.

Reid: “That’s not true. It’s actually not true.” What the Republican Party and what the Tea Party have proposed is privatizing Social Security. Which would actually subject social security to the whims of the market, which I don’t think people — that’s not what they paid into. That’s not true.”

Donalds failed to back up anything he said, but he did send a very clear message to the minions who have bought into the radical fundamentalist view of America and what is wrong with it. By using the term “woke” they are signaling that they stand for “the good old days” when gay people were considered mentally ill and could be court martialed and imprisoned just for existing as a gay person in the military.

The term “entitlements” signals the radical right wing belief that Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits that Americans pay into via deductions from their paycheck are just fuel for freeloaders. America is soft and “woke” and Republicans are here to save us all from our own laziness. The Ebenezer Scrooge school of fairness.

By the way, people have been predicting Social Security to be “insolvent” for decades. The folks looking to cut it, eliminate it, or privatize it don’t like the fact that they have been crying wolf about solvency since the 1990s. And guess what? they have been wrong every time. Yes, the programs need to be adjusted and tweaked, but we have been able to do that over and over for decades.

And on the military …. The military has hit their overall recruiting goal every year for a long time. As in 100 percent. The military does have challenges going forward, but “wokeness” doesn’t seem to be a concern to them. According to those actually in the military and in charge of the actual recruiting their biggest challenges are too many employed young people, which makes military service far less attractive as a way out of poverty and that 71 percent of American youth can’t even qualify for the military. Those reasons include obesity, drugs, physical and mental health problems, misconduct, and aptitude. 

There is no mention of too much “woke” in the military in the Army’s recruiting report.

It is understandable that Donalds, especially after being thrust into the spotlight last week, wants to make a name for himself and brighten his own star. Unfortunately, he is only armed with tired and debunked talking points instead of any fresh ideas or even any evidence that he is capable of thinking for himself. Where the GOP failed in successfully propping Herschel Walker up to the Senate, it seems they are content to let Donalds take his place as a token and clueless representative that will probably do more to diversify GOP group photos than anything of substance. Fortunately for viewers, Joy Reid wasn’t going to let him appear to be more than he is on her watch.

Check out the portion of the interview this article refers to below …