As Scottish literary giant Robert Burns wrote, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry.”

His 1785 poem, titled “To A Mouse,” could be directed today at the right-wing sloganeers who’ve been scheming so furiously to turn their hokey “woke” snobbery into a winning political stratagem.

“Your local librarian is woke!” they screech. “So is Disney, Inc.! Some of your churches, too, plus all Democrats, and — OMG — even Bud Light!” Wokeism is the Red Scare, Welfare Queen, and Willy Horton rolled into one, forming the main “issue” of Republicans now running for president, Congress, and dogcatcher.

But rather than getting defensive, insisting you are not woke, consider firing back by saying, “Of course I’m woke!”

For the great majority of Americans, being “woke” is a very positive characteristic — it means simply that you’re awake, attentive to what’s going on. Indeed, in Black communities, “stay woke” has long meant staying alert to racial and social injustices.

Even some Republicans must consider it bizarrely self-defeating for their party’s top candidates to be urging voters to go to sleep.

GOP leaders explain that anti-woke means, among other things, crusading against DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness). But that means they’re opposing America itself, for we are a nation united under the essential principle of e pluribus unum.

As affirmed by the egalitarian principles of the Declaration of Independence, the 14th Amendment, the Statue of Liberty, and our kindergarten teachings of sharing and fairness, ours is a country rooted in constant diversification, expanding equality, and the democratic idea that every voice ought to be included. Our country needs more of all three!

America is way short of achieving these historic ideals, but shame on those revisionist political elites now demanding we abandon even striving for them. Confront the charlatans!

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by

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