Amid conservatives’ ham-fisted attempts to blame Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on American “wokeness,” Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) apparently tried to make the same point in the form of an inscrutable rant via Twitter on Sunday.
“You millennial leftists who never lived one day under nuclear threat can now reflect upon your woke sky,” Higgins wrote. “You made quite a non-binary fuss to save the world from intercontinental ballistic tweets.”
Though it’s not clear exactly what a “woke sky” is or how one can reflect upon it, Higgins’ rhetoric (including a nonsensical invocation of “non-binary”) in the context of the military conflict in Ukraine joins a new pattern emerging among conservatives: trying to shoehorn their culture war grievances into an entirely unrelated geopolitical crisis.
A day before Putin declared war on Ukraine last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made the case for giving Putin a break instead of “dutifully” hating him, advising Fox viewers during a monologue on his program to ask themselves: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? […] Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination?”
Former Trump White House chief adviser Steve Bannon and conservative military contractor Erik Prince also rallied around Putin before the invasion on the basis that he “ain’t woke” and that Russia doesn’t put up pride flags in front of buildings.
On the day of Putin’s attack, Matt Walsh at the conservative Daily Wire tweeted, “My huge fear right now is that our military hasn’t had enough diversity training to prepare them for this moment.”
And Donald Trump Jr, the former president’s eldest son who’s branded himself as a conservative thought leader, tweeted, “Maybe it’s time we start worrying about real shit instead of our pronouns?”
The talking points tie into conservatives’ broader narrative that President Joe Biden has somehow weakened the U.S. military with “diversity trainings” (when in truth, the Pentagon has discovered that the military has a disturbing number of white supremacists in its ranks).
There’s zero indication that Putin’s authoritarian crusade to rebuild the Russian empire by attacking Ukraine has anything to do with the Russian government’s anti-LGBTQ+ record.