In our school parents’ WhatsApp group last month, a petition was making the rounds to do away with masking our children. Some of the supporters were parents who, just a few months ago, aggressively backed any and all precautions, no matter how senseless or strict—and who demonized those who questioned the regime.
Over drinks the other week, a friend who sported a Black Lives Matter pin last summer spoke sheepishly about the organization’s shady and troubling finances, siphoning millions of dollars into what increasingly appears to be a massive for-profit scam made possible by oodles of willful ignorance. Two martinis in, and the same well-intentioned person, whose Twitter timeline has long been an ongoing drumbeat of accusing anyone on the right of being one white sheet away from a Klan rally, confessed that the woke madness was completely out of hand, and that he felt like our colleges, newspapers, and entertainment industry are now just a giant propaganda machine.
And on a recent Zoom call, an acquaintance who works for a major media outlet stopped her discussion of Ukraine to admit that she had little faith in her own employer’s ability to report on the conflict. She was upset, she said, when she realized Russiagate, a story she had once believed was both seminal and true, turned out to be a dangerous hoax, but even more upset when her colleagues didn’t let the facts confuse them.
Everywhere you look these days, you see people making the turn, the gradual, baffling, painful, redeeming process of realizing that so much of what they thought about the world—about COVID and wokeness and Russia and the Democrats and the Republicans and everything and anything else—might’ve been misguided and must now change. It’s a great awakening, a mass movement consisting of individuals doing that thing that most strongly defines what it means to be human—namely the ability to examine reality, reconfigure our convictions, grow, and change. It’s a very promising sign that a real realignment is at hand, and that on the ashes of our scorched political earth something new and beautiful is being built.