It’s not ‘woke’ — it’s respect

Whatever happened to Republican decency?

Jeffrey Denny
5 min readApr 18, 2022


Jeffrey Denny

The irony is too rich to swallow without risk of indigestion, gallstones or gout:

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who with his family barely escaped a violent MAGA mob incited by his own president for doing his Constitutional duty, is on a speaking tour headlined, “How To Save America From The Woke Left.”

“Woke,” of course, means “alert to injustice in society, especially racism” and challenging hate against people who fail to be White cis straight conservative Christians like Pence.

Another difference: Nobody woke, to my knowledge, attacked and invaded the U.S. Capitol in a bloody coup attempt during which they erected a scaffold and hunted down the vice president shouting “Hang Mike Pence!”

Jesus certainly was the wokest of the woke. He loved everyone no matter what. What does Pence think about that? What would Jesus say to Pence about his Woke Hate Tour? Pence implies they talk every day or maybe just text 😇🙏👍😻🤪.

Pence’s latest stop was at the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, a true Constitutional originalist and obviously a free-speech advocate.

Jefferson presumably would have supported Pence’s right to speak out hatefully against people who speak out against hate.

TJ might have mused, or been amused, about claims the woke are trying to silence Pence when Pence — as a former vice president and possible 2024 presidential candidate — has a more powerful platform and megaphone and media and monies to silence the woke.

I also sense Jefferson might’ve had harder time with what the internet has wrought. Also with the racist, anti-Semitic, White supremacist, neo-Nazi “good people” who marched on his Charlottesville (coincidentally during Trump’s first year) celebrating their freedom to chant “Jews will not replace us!” and other ugly slurs and fighting words.

Underlying this twisted irony — and what puzzles many — is: What in God’s name happened to the so-called “Grand Old Party”?

You know, the Republican Party of our parents and grandparents that stood for traditional solid American values —the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, basic decency, good manners, civility, respect, responsibility, kindness and consideration.

When I was a child, the Republicans were saving America from the Great Unwashed Hoards destroying all that was right and good. The Democrats were goddamn radical long-haired freaky Abbie Hoffman revolutionaries tearing down the establishment, attacking government and law enforcement.

Today the Democrats stand for respect and civic responsibility, while the Republicans are the party of the radical long-haired freaky Abbie Hoffman revolutionaries who actually stormed, busted up, and disgraced the U.S. Capitol, and brutalized law enforcement to overturn an election and overthrow the government. In ways the “hippies” and Yippies never dreamed to dare.

“There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning!” This sounds like the J6 rioters and their Barcalounger Bolshevik internet fellow travelers, but Abby Hoffman said it back in the day.

The Republican base — talk about base — delights in screaming ignorant hate at Trump rallies as Trump wallows in their squalid adoration.

They’re proud of being uneducated. They send courageously anonymous venom and death threats to anyone their sniggering millionaire Tucker Carlson and his grubbing broadcast and online media ilk attack to trigger the libs to rile the rubes for views, ratings and money.

“Woke” is only the latest sneering, jeering, MAGA crowd-pleasing red meat grilled and served on a bed of bigotry, xenophobia, and transphobia.

MAGAs, bless their hearts, seem to thrill in all kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things.

To borrow from the classic 70s protest song, “Alice’s Restaurant.”

For instance, a popular MAGA car sticker features Trump in the iconic Shepard Fairey Obama HOPE poster style thrusting two middle fingers and declaring, “FUCK YOU BIDEN.”

That’s right — MAGA Republicans raised by Republicans proudly display this obscenity against our President and Commander in Chief because they bleat whatever their media teaches. After they lectured Democrats to honor Trump, whatever his disgraces, because he was our president.

Many MAGAs display this obscenity alongside decals of the American flag, desecrating it.

Never mind if this shameful display might shock and dismay our Republican elders and teach our children a more disturbing lesson than any history curriculum or library books that MAGAs are rising up to ban.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still declaring that Democrats are destroying America.

Forgive their trespasses: Without an agenda except that the Democrat Socialist libs are worse, and facing a shrinking White base to fool and incite as America diversifies, the Grasping Old Party is desperately clinging to relevance and power, even if means lying down with mangy dogs and itching with the fleas.

What’s so delicious is how traditional Republicans like Pence are still harping on values while still proving the stance is just a cynical divide-and-conquer political strategy.

Like when family-values Republicans cheat on their loyal wives. Or don’t care about Trump’s depredations that he celebrated. Or homophobically railed against “the gays” and then came out. Or dismiss, excuse or defend the historic and current “Republican Sexual Predators, Abusers and Enablers, Pt. 26,” as Daily Kos compiled.

As Pence and today’s GOP attack wokeness as a political ploy, let’s suggest they take a page from original Republicanism.

Specifically from the 1887 book, “How to Behave; A Pocket Manual of Republican Etiquette, and Guide to Correct Personal Habits.”

The opening passage speaks for the volume:

“Someone has defined politeness as ‘only an elegant form of justice;’ but it is something more. It is the result of the combined action of all the moral and social feelings, guided by judgment and refined by taste.

“It requires the exercise of benevolence, veneration (in its human aspect), adhesiveness, and ideality, as well as of conscientiousness. It is the spontaneous recognition of human solidarity — the flowering of philanthropy — the fine art of the social passions.”

By the way:

The chapter titled “Republican Distinctions” offers a warning.

“We have in our country a class of toad-eaters who delight in paying the most obsequious homage to fictitious rank of every kind,” such as, “A vulgar millionaire of the Fifth Avenue.”

Coincidence? Perhaps.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.