Carnes: Big, bad, scary trigger words |

Carnes: Big, bad, scary trigger words

DEI Woke virus.

Did that scare you?

Did just reading the words cause your heart to skip a beat? And I mean in a bad way, not like seeing your spouse across the room at a party and thinking, “Damn, I’m lucky.”

Evidently, the paid actors on FOX News (the professional wrestling of TV journalism) believe it does, as now, in spite of their consistent reminders that we shouldn’t believe a word they say, anything associated with the dreaded “DEI Woke virus” should be scaring the bejeebers out of us all, or at least those spewing spittle all over their screens anytime they hear or see the words.

Other trigger words, or in some cases simply acronyms, apparently used to incite the ignorant include CRT (critical race theory), ESG (environmental social governance), EV (electric vehicle), TikTok, Hollywood, gun regulations, George Soros, progressive, renewables, rainbow, rainbows, rainbowland, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus.

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Wait, Dolly and Miley?

Online readers can follow the link, just suffice it to say they dared to sing a song that celebrates acceptance, and it has now been banned at a Wisconsin elementary school for fear of … hell, I don’t know what they’re afraid of.

And to continue the authoritarian absurdness, a school in Florida (who’d a thunk) fired a principal for the audacity of showing Michelangelo’s “David” during a Renaissance art lesson.

“It’s a fictional character with a penis! Well, I never!”

But back to the scary words.

DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion, and recently has come to represent the ruling business ideology of our nation, and along with ESG scares the dickens out of conservative corporate leaders.

DEI did not cause last week’s wine spill in East Vail any more than CRT caused a winter’s worth of Glenwood Canyon closings or being “woke” has caused our lack of affordable housing.

Yet there’s good ol’ dependable-to-stir-the-ignorance-pot FOX News blaming “wokeness” for bank failures (Silicon Valley Bank), inflation and the total collapse of American society.

I have no doubt the scary trigger words will soon be associated with cryptocurrency, atmospheric rivers in California, the whitest lawsuit ever over in Utah and conclude Mel Brook’s “History of the World Part II” is only funny if you’re high.

OK, I must admit they’re correct on that last one, but come on Republicans, get a grip on reality and quit spinning your wheels like an 18-wheeler without chains on Vail Pass during a blizzard. These trigger words don’t activate your base to do anything other than whine like little snowflakes afraid of melting into a puddle of obscurity.

Accept the fact that whether it’s the Manhattan DA or the NY Attorney General or the Fulton County DA or the Department of Justice, the “Wacko down in Waco” promising “death and destruction” to his ever-shrinking base is an absolute waste of screen time if you ever hope to play a decisive role in the future of this nation.

The FOX News-led trigger words are magnets to ignorance and mental signposts for those seeking exit ramps from reality, but for those honestly caring regardless of political affiliations, they are simply combinations of letters meant to convey meaning.

And some of them are completely meaningless.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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