Political Discourse is Being Quashed by “Woke” Mobs and Corporate Cowards

FAIR recently held its 13th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire (F2F) radio row. Every year, we hold this event at the Phoenix Park Hotel for a number of reasons. It is around the corner from FAIR’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. It is just a few blocks from the Capitol, making it easily accessible to lawmakers who come by to discuss immigration policy with their constituents back home.

Perhaps most important of all, the management and staff of the Phoenix Park are consistently professional, wonderful, and gracious. Despite annual attempts by self-styled Social Justice Warriors, and professional political agitators to disrupt the F2F events, the hotel has ignored their threats and attacks on its reputation and ours. In more ways than one, the Phoenix Park has earned FAIR’s business and loyalty.

Put another way, the Phoenix Park and its team have resisted the “woke” mob that is making it increasingly difficult for even mainstream political views, that the mob opposes, to be heard. The same cannot be said about many other institutions.

This week, the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, announced that it was canceling an annual gala planned by the group ACT for America. ACT for America is an organization that monitors radical Islamist groups in the United States, a “sin” for which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled them a “hate group,” and has accused them of being anti-Muslim. This year’s ACT for America keynote speaker is author Michelle Malkin. Needless to point out, Mara-a-Lago is owned by the Trump Organization. (Disclaimer: Both Malkin and ACT for America’s director Brigitte Gabriel are regular guests at F2F events.)

The increasingly oppressive demands for “woke” conformity are also creeping into other areas of the public square. The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos (though separate from his Amazon empire), recently saw fit to publish what amounts to “Rules for Engagement in ‘Woke’ America.” The piece by Rebecca Hains, a professor at Salem State University in Massachusetts, titled, “Dear fellow white people: Here’s what to do when you’re called racist,” asserts that you are guilty as charged, that denying the charge is not only pointless, but is a further affirmation of your guilt, that you are not owed an explanation by your accuser, and that you actually owe your accuser a thank you. (I’m not kidding, you can read it yourself here.)

This sort of claptrap emanating from academia is hardly unusual, although even by the “normal” standards of university social science departments these days, the column is still chillingly wacky. The column drew 5,949 reader comments. I scanned through the first hundred or so, and even the polite ones wondered why the Post would give credence, much less space to such intellectual bilge.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to holding national discussions about important issues such as immigration, radical Islamism, and racism, the mob is increasingly setting the terms.

Thomas Jefferson notably warned that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” While the American people continue to believe that a healthy democracy hinges on the ability of all legitimate viewpoints to be heard and considered, many of our timid leaders and institutions are succumbing to mob intimidation.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.