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The culture wars pits extreme reactionary conservatives against progressives. The war on woke is an example of this, where ordinary folk are encouraged to see efforts in favour of redressing the situation, where those among us traditionally excluded from a seat at the big table, as unnecessary. White supremacists are, of course, big fans of this and in some instances driving this ‘anti-woke’ narrative. Diversity inclusiveness is being pilloried as somehow unfair to the dominant white male cohort within our communities – this is ridiculous. The figures do not back this up in any way. The culture wars and demonising woke play to the politics of grievance.

man in white and blue hat

Anti-Elite Another Right Wing Beat Up

The anti-elitist strategy is another beat up and manipulation by those on the right. Politically, it enables parties traditionally associated with big business to extend their appeal to working class people. This championing of the often bigoted values of non-college educated folk is another false narrative. Blaming one side for all the ills in the politics of grievance debate is further misinformation and deflection from the truth of the matter. The socially progressive policies of those wanting to include those marginalised, like LGBTQI+, women, and new migrants, are demonised by those on the right. Religious groups align with those on the right so that they can defend their right to discriminate against those that do not conform to their religious laws, which were developed many hundreds of years ago. These Bronze Age values were tribal and do not reflect the reality of urban living in big cities in the 21C. We are no longer primarily goat farmers.

man apprehending woman in white tank top

Anti-Women Patriarchal Policies Underpinning GOP

Patriarchal family values are outdated for good reasons and policies that seek a return to this power structure will not appeal to many, especially women. In the US, we are witnessing hardline conservative think tanks driving MAGA Republican party policy in this regard.

“Wealthy right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation has published a detailed plan for the next Republican president to use the executive branch of the federal government to attack the rights of women, LGBTQ people and the BIPOC community, by eliminating the agencies and offices responsible for enforcing civil rights laws and placing trained right-wing ideologues in staff positions throughout the federal government. “

Anti-abortion state policies and laws have galvanised opposition among women across America. Further efforts to ban contraception and limit the freedoms of women, more generally, are on the cards and it is hard to see how these will appeal to voters. The stacking of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) by former President Donald Trump provides another non-democratic pathway for the imposition of these laws and policies to be enacted at the state level in red states. However, women in these red states are rising up and the GOP are losing seats and representatives on this basis. You can see why Trump and MAGA want to take over the US by a coup or insurrection because they will not win the 2024 presidential election with the policies they have. Indeed, it would be a good bet that the GOP will also lose control of Congress at the next election too.

it is not easy being black

“Lock Em Up & Throw Away The Key”

In Australia, we have a right wing opposition that takes its lead from the US. Their relentless attacks and negativity means they offer no credible alternative to the Labor government currently in charge. Peter Dutton, their leader, seeks to enflame fears and anxieties within the electorate whenever possible. Immigration policy has been a popular platform upon which to sew exaggerated fears now and in the past. Attitudes toward Australia’s Indigenous communities is another area in which the opposition divides the nation via polarising statements. Of course, they have no policies and only opinions on everything. Law and order remains a conservative touchstone, where knee jerk responses to sensationalised incidents of crime reported in the media play well to the gallery. Again, no ideas or solutions apart from locking everybody up are ever proffered by the LNP.

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Old White Guys Want To Have Their Cake & Eat Yours Too

The culture wars and demonising woke are popular here in Australia too. Old white guys want to have their cake and eat yours too. The war on woke appeals to dumb entitled folk who don’t bother thinking too deeply about much. Fairness was supposedly a great Aussie tradition, but only if you were white and like everybody else. Apparently, mateship and equality were and are reserved for the assimilated Anglo Aussie. Slagging off at stuff and people outside this box is all good fun. If it doesn’t bother the bloke saying it why should it bother the person being slagged off! This logic pervades the racism endemic throughout Australia.

The culture wars are a beat up for political purposes. The real aim of the game is to get your vote and to put their insider mates in clover. Think PwC and all those billions being syphoned off from the public sector to private wealth via the consultancy business. Think the insider mates who got the billion dollar offshore detention money over many years. Think the labour hire sector where private interests grew fat on more and more government contracts across the board. This massive increase saw the private wealth of the few grow exponentially whilst the many were shafted. Wage growth during the Coalition years was moribund, union was power was decimated, and the rich got much richer at our expense. We now live in a much unfairer Australia. The divide between the haves and the have nots is a widening gulf.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of America Matters: Pre-apocalyptic Posts & Essays in the Shadow of Trump.

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