If there’s one thing pundits love, it’s covering their own asses so as to avoid the unforgivable impression that (god forbid!) they might have been wrong in the past. Which brings me to the second thing pundits love: Making grand zeitgeist-y proclamations that combine two wholly unrelated things — frequently in the service of the aforementioned ass-covering.
Folks, I give you Tucker Carlson:
Let’s look past Carlson’s unadulterated (and unsurprising) racism for a moment, and ask ourselves: “what the fuck is he even talking about?” The Afghan people welcomed the Taliban back with open arms because they were sick of a decades-long occupation in which U.S. troops subjected them to…gender studies symposiums? What? WHAT?
This is Tucker at his Tucker-iest. For more than a year now, he’s primed his audience to believe that the biggest scourge undermining their (ethnonationalist) way of life is so-called “wokeness” – a vague, ill-defined term that’s come to be used as a shibboleth for anything Carlson and his white power-hour guests deem even the teensiest bit threatening to the patriarchal, white supremacist power structures he both worships and embodies. Now that he’s found a new issue to harp on — namely, the United States’ disastrous handling of its withdrawal from Afghanistan — he’s attempting to mash these two completely separate things together, creating a fictional narrative arc implying that somehow the first is directly responsible for the second. Carlson has elevated his perverted understanding of “wokeness” from a domestic threat into a full-blown national security issue. To be woke, he’s saying, is akin to surrendering to the Taliban—a group whose enthusiastic rejection of things like women’s rights and the gender identity spectrum places them decidedly above American leftists, in Carlson’s twisted worldview.
And Carlson isn’t alone in blaming wokeness for the ignominious end to the past two decades of America’s failed occupation.
Hell, it’s not just pundits pushing this narrative, too. Here’s United States Senator and fascist martial law enthusiast Tom Cotton:
And speaking on Fox News this week, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — probably the last person on Earth who should be given a platform to feign moral superiority about American strength in the face of a fundamentalist government — offered the following 🤡ExPErT AnaLYsiS🤡 on the Taliban’s abrupt reclamation of Afghanistan:
This is in the context of the Biden administration that has basically abandoned the global stage in favor of climate change…they’ve been focused on critical race theory while the embassy is at risk. That didn’t happen during our four years. I do think there’s a real risk here.
If only the president of the United States hadn’t worried about the end of life on this planet as we know it, or stopped caring about pervasive racism infesting the ranks of the world’s largest employer, then everything in Afghanistan would be peachy keen!
None of this actually means anything. It’s all just posturing and from those whose rhetoric (and in the case of Pompeo and Cotton, actual policies) helped get us to this exact moment. Wokeness, Critical Race Theory, Climate Change…these aren’t actual factors in what’s happening in Afghanistan right now. They’re just buzzwords that vultures like Carlson and Pompeo know will score cheap points in their ongoing culture war, while distracting people from the very real catastrophe playing out thousands of miles away — a catastrophe for which the United States is directly responsible.