Wyoming’s freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman has joined another highly politically charged organization in Congress, the newly formed House Anti-Woke Caucus.
“Now more than ever, we must fight back against the woke culture permeating every federal agency,” Hageman says in her Sunday newsletter. “With each passing day, this woke ideology becomes more and more bizarre and dangerous.”
An April 5 Daily Caller story reports the goal of the Anti-Woke Caucus is to expose and defund “far-left” programs in the federal government.
The new caucus includes 26 Republican members of Congress and is led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks.
Aim To ‘Defund Wokeness’
Banks told the Daily Caller that no piece of legislation that funds “leftist activities should pass out of committee without a recorded vote on an amendment to defund wokeness.”
“Republicans must use our House majority to protect taxpayers from being forced to fund woke and divisive ideologies,” Banks told the Daily Caller.
Hageman and other Republicans have become increasingly focused in recent months toward rooting out these alleged agendas, which also has become a top talking point for some 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls.
The Wyoming congresswoman is making it a cornerstone of her service. She’s also on the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.
On these committees, Hageman has highlighted coordination between the federal government and social media companies in fighting misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results by censoring this speech.
‘Sunlight Is The Best Disinfectant’
According to Fortune Magazine, some Republicans also have accused President Joe Biden’s administration of using $39 billion meant to build computer chip factories to further “woke” ideas such as requiring some recipients to offer child care and encouraging the use of union labor.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs, NASA and the U.S. Army is also embracing some “woke” policies.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant and ending this government intrusion into our lives by defunding these dangerous and un-American programs is critical to our future as a nation,” Hageman said.
In March, the Anti-Woke Caucus endorsed legislation that would prohibit the Biden administration or any other recipient of federal money from intentionally discriminating against or granting preference to any person based on race, color or national origin.
According to the Caller, the caucus’ first meeting was held in March and attended by Stephen Miller, senior advisor to former President Donald Trump. Discussed during the meeting was legislation the caucus should introduce to fight “the cultural left.”
What Is ‘Woke’ Exactly?
The term “woke” has become more widely used as Americans engage culture wars over diversity, inclusion and equity efforts in the workforce, public schools and in legislation.
In recent years, many progressive-learning entities have communicated preferential treatment for minority population groups based on these efforts.
A March USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 56% of those surveyed say the term means "to be informed, educated on and aware of social injustices."
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines woke as being “aware of the injustice of the society in which one lives.”
"If you ask people what woke is, I think what they mean is they want to stand against people who are engaging in some type of advocacy for marginalized people," Andra Gillespie, political scientist at Emory University, told USA Today.
The woke movement has ties to “political correctness,” a term also targeted by conservatives in the 1990s.
As the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum around 2014, "woke" expanded outside of Black communities into the public lexicon. In 2020, the term’s usage expanded further amid social justice protests in response to the murder of George Floyd.
Some Republicans say that the woke mission is made up by a desire to make sure so-called “oppressor” groups are punished for their perceived past and present sins.
"Wokeness is especially prevalent and dangerous at universities and in primary schools because the Left recognized students as the most vulnerable and useful targets for indoctrination," Banks wrote in a January op-ed for American Mind.
Heart Of The Culture Wars
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also joined in opposing “woke,” recently signing his state’s Stop woke Act into law.
Woke is defined by his administration as "the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them," according to DeSantis' general counsel, as reported by The Washington Post.
Other Republicans have used the term to bundle transgender and gay rights and critical race theory under a single culture wars-type theme.
“It's kind of this lumping together of anybody whose views could be construed as being progressive on issues related to identity and civil rights,” Gillespie said.
In his op-ed, Banks admitted his party is also at fault in approving funds geared towards empowering "woke institutions and activities."
He said Congress approved more money to these groups in 2017 and 2018, than when Democrats retook the majority in 2019 and 2020.
"This Congress, we should aim to eliminate all such funding," he said.