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For the past month, political junkies from both sides of the aisle have been glued to their screens watching Russian tanks reduced to smoke plumes and Ukrainian apartment buildings to twisted metal and concrete.
It seems the tribalism of U.S. partisan politics have declared a momentary cease-fire to make room for solidarity under the flag — albeit not our own. Suddenly middle-aged pundits are discussing the military capabilities of specific defense systems like a 14-year-old with a PlayStation and a copy of "Call of Duty." And the war drums echo louder and bolder from the U.S., as politicians dangerously suggest what-if scenarios and propose a menu of destructive technology under the newly palatable, politically correct phrase, "lethal aid."
What I haven't heard much of during this time is people concerned about the plight of transgendered athletes, gender neutral bathrooms, or defunding the police in response to wildly isolated incidents assumed to be racially motivated. Perhaps the images on our televisions are close enough to home to make us realize that the world is full of real problems. Real tyranny. Real conflict.
It's time for America to go to war on wokeness. As a nation we have thrived for so long without real struggle, we've manufactured problems that allow us to be outraged. In the name of tolerance and equity, we've gone from normalizing the rare and unique, to encouraging those things which have traditionally gone against our own biology and common sense.
In classrooms here in Oregon, students are given paper representations of gingerbread cookies and asked to rank the gender identity and biology they would "like" to have for their avatar and how attracted they are to each gender. While we watch sheets draped across the corpses of children in Ukraine, ours are being taught that real injustice is assuming the gender you're "assigned" at birth is oppressive.
One of the biggest woke fairy tales is the idea of defunding the police. How has that worked out? In Portland alone, we had 90 homicides last year, breaking a record set three decades earlier. This year the record is on track to be broken again.
Then there is the liberal fantasy that decriminalizing hard drugs, opening our borders to cartels, and allowing permanent sidewalk camping is compassionate. Volunteers showed us we can have clean streets when tourists visited for March Madness, so why can't taxpayer-backed city and state officials do anything to make Portland livable for those who live and work there?
Between schools encouraging children to go against their biology, to politicians gutting police budgets and ignoring filthy streets, it's time to say enough is enough.
If you want to see what real consequence and struggle look like you can turn on your TV and look at Ukraine, or you can look to the streets of Portland and the curriculum in our schools to see what wokeness has done here.
Only one of those wars is within our power to win, and that's the war on woke.
Stan Pulliam is the mayor of the city of Sandy. He is seeking the Republican nomination in the race for Oregon governor.
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