Constitutionally Protected Struggle Sessions?

In a recent ruling, The Hon. Mark Walker, chief U.S. district judge for the northern district of Florida, Tallahassee division, granted an injunction against the state of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” which endeavors to protect employees from left-wing critical race theory (CRT) indoctrination intrinsic to the “diversity, inclusion, and equity” (a.k.a., DIE—acronym is based on the chronological order in which the Left created these concepts) training sessions mandated by employers and (usually conducted by) their DIE consultants. The decision is the first step in granting employers—and likely the federal government—the power to indoctrinate workers with the Left’s woke ideology.

The court’s injunction of this duly enacted statute of the state of Florida has rendered Florida’s citizens without recourse from employers’ mandatory DIE training sessions and the scurrilous accusations and compulsory activities it thrusts upon them. In sum, if the federal district court’s injunction leads, as expected, to the striking down of the Florida statute, other judicial activists throughout the country will then cite the precedent and act accordingly. Employers and their DIE consultants—and likely state and federal governments—will believe themselves constitutionally justified in ascribing thought crimes to their employees, and subjecting them to partisan political indoctrination.

While the state of Florida sought first and foremost to protect employees’ freedom of conscience and liberty, the court focused on affirming and cementing the power of employers and consultants to engage in “free speech” by requiring you to listen to what they have to say. In so doing, the court dismissed the reality that the “free speech” of the employers and consultants was not really at issue. The heart of the matter is the rights of the employees—specifically, to not be compelled to listen as their employer and its DIE consultants ascribe to them socially despised thoughts; compel their agreement; and coerce them into actions affirming and atoning for these alleged “thought crimes” which are based upon their race alone. In sum, then, the court seems to believe that in the instance of DIE training sessions, the powerful employer and its DIE consultants have a special right to free speech that can force others to listen, agree, and act—even regardless of the dictates of the compelled listener’s conscience.

So, too, for cases involving governmental powers to conduct and/or require other entities to hold CRT/DIE training, the court evidently considers corporate and government speech the most highly protected political speech, not the lesser protected commercial speech. Thus, the issue arises whether a federal or a state governmental entity has the power to compel the propagation and indoctrination of political speech, or use taxpayer funds to perform it, especially if it is partisan political speech. 

As one Floridian correspondent remarked to me upon the issuance of the court’s injunction, such woke employee training sessions are “Maoist struggle sessions reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution that the Chinese Communist Party made famous in the 1960s, when they subjugated their population through ideological ‘purity tests,’ ruining countless lives and setting the nation back decades.” 

The totalitarian tactic of suggesting one “knows” the thoughts of someone else would be risible, were it not so demonstrably destructive. The power of an employer and its DIE consultants—let alone the federal government—to ascribe unacceptable thoughts to an employee without a shred of evidence, and then to demand that employee conduct himself in a mandated manner to atone for the ascribed thought, mirrors the way totalitarian regimes persecute people for “thought crimes.”  

Perversely, the court’s ruling protecting woke indoctrination abets the erroneous weaponization of a part of the First Amendment, free speech, against the overarching right to freedom of conscience, even as the woke ideology’s accusations of collective, race-based “implicit” and “unconscious bias” and “guilt” and “privilege” inverts the concept of innocent until proven guilty, the very foundation of Western jurisprudence.

In accordance with the right to freedom of conscience, the first step is to is to recognize an employee’s right to leave any training session—mandatory or voluntary—that he subjectively feels is offensive and/or infringes upon his conscience or person for any reason(s); and, if his employer is proven to have retaliated against said employee in any manner for so doing, the employer can be legally held liable.

The second step is self-evident and equitable. In America, the DIE industrial complex was estimated to be an $8 billion dollar industry; and it is projected to mushroom to more than $15 billion by 2026. We need to end taxpayer subsidization of political speech in the workplace. Ironically, rather than declaring these trainings commercial speech, by applying the highest standard in its ruling, the U.S. district court recognized the intrinsic political nature of woke indoctrination. 

Thus, like all other employer ventures into politics, such woke indoctrination training—like all political speech—should not be subsidized by taxpayers; and should no longer be tax deductible within state and federal tax codes. There are two ways to spot political training sessions:

First, does the training ascribe offensive thoughts and motivations to an employee or specific group of employees; compel them to accept the allegations; and compel them to act in a manner as if the accusation were true?

Second, does the training in question align itself with one side of a highly contentious political issue? Certainly, there are widely held and widely divergent positions on CRT in particular and woke ideology, in general. Indeed, the woke ideology is held by a decided minority of the citizenry. It is Dr. Martin Luther King’s view of racial harmony—to base relations upon the content of one’s character rather than the color of one’s skin—that prevails within the larger society. 

Thus, despite the setback, as the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody continues the fight to protect Floridians’ freedom of conscience, let us hope Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s legislature continue to explore and expand laws to protect their citizens from compulsory woke indoctrination. The burden they carry is heavy, for the stakes could not be greater. The Biden Administration, its lackey Democratic Congress, and leftist federal and state governmental institutions are imposing woke indoctrination throughout our nation; and, if these socially corrosive Maoist struggle sessions are insanely deemed constitutionally protected, they will write our free republic’s suicide note. 

Stranger things have happened, right Judge Walker? 

About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: iStock/GETTY IMAGES

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