Mazzuca: A journey, not a destination
A fable is a short story that illustrates a moral lesson. The plot of a fable always includes a simple conflict and a resolution, followed by a maxim. And perhaps the most enduring of all fables were those told by the Greek slave and storyteller Aesop, who lived between 620 and 564 BCE.
My favorite Aesop fable is about the North Wind and the Sun who were arguing about which of the two was stronger. As the dispute went on, a traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. Seeing this the sun said, “Let’s agree that he is the stronger who can strip the traveler of his cloak.” “Very well,” growled the north wind, and at once sent cold howling blast of wind towards the traveler.
The gust whipped the cloak around the traveler’s body, causing him to pull it closer to his body. And the harder the north wind blew, the tighter the traveler held on to his cloak. The north wind continued to tear angrily at the traveler’s cloak, but his efforts were in vain.
Then it was the sun’s turn; so, the sun began to shine its gentle beams upon the traveler, and after the bitter cold of the north wind the pleasant warmth of the sun induced the traveler to unfasten his cloak and hang loosely over his shoulders. Then, as the sun’s rays grew warmer the man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last, he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak and found welcome shade under a tree by the roadside.
The moral of this fable should be obvious — that gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail. I relate this story because I see something very similar happening regarding the woke culture in America today.
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The term “woke” was originally a label for vigilance and activism regarding racial inequities. But what began as a matter of social awareness and an attempt to redress the failings of society, has morphed into a trendy and angry competition to see who can be “more woke.” And to be clear, there’s nothing gentle or persuasive about the woke activism we’re seeing today.
When properly engaged, activism plays a critical role in a society and is frequently the impetus behind the creation of a kinder and more equitable society for future generations. But the fake wokeism we see in America today isn’t the peaceful activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi.
Whether the abhorrent BLM riots of last summer that left 27 dead, or Major League Baseball choosing to punish an entire region because a state legislature moved to make common sense changes to its voting laws, we need to ask, albeit rhetorically, how did these destructive knee-jerk reactions benefit the Black community?
Society has a responsibility to redress its inequities; but a certain arrogance has crept its way into what should be a noble endeavor. The term woke was officially added into the dictionary in 2017 with the following definition: “To be awake to sensitive social issues, such as racism.” But when discussing the matter, too often the prevailing attitude combines accusation and condescension, as if someone is screaming out, “Hey I’m woke, and you’re not!”
Gandhi told us, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” but much of today’s woke culture is more focused on criticism and calling people out on social media than actually making meaningful changes to society. I guess they’ve forgotten that true social consciousness is a journey and not a destination.
Quote of the day: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” — Zig Zigler.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. Follow him on his blog at butchmazzuca.com.