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This Week in Missouri Politics Column: The Chronicles of the Phony Woke

Let me start off by admitting right from the beginning that I ain’t what you would call woke. 

However, I am someone who — due to some folks befriending me, sharing their life experiences with me, and pouring themselves into my heart — believes that African Americans and transgender folks have had a harder row to hoe in life than folks who were born like me. 

Now let me tell you about a friend of mine: Kendall Martinez-Wright. 

She is a woman who, whatever your politics, has one of the hardest jobs in Jefferson City. Among her other chores, she is an advocate from the transgender community in the Missouri State Capitol. 

Again, set your personal politics aside and for a moment try and imagine how hard of a job it would be to walk into the state Capitol every day and lobby this General Assembly on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. 

She does it with a smile and enthusiasm that is contagious. She is there in the gallery more hours most weeks than most other lobbyists — who make far more money advocating for far easier causes. 

I’ve enjoyed getting to know her. Her kindness and enthusiasm and passion for her cause has led me to think about several things differently. I’m not going to pretend to be woke and put on some show that she has convinced me to change all my opinions, but I honestly do think of some of the issues she advocates from a different perspective, with more empathy and compassion because I have the benefit of knowing her. 

Because of that, I invited her and a few friends to my place in Jefferson City after the charity softball game.

And that is where the Phony Woke Brigade came in. 

Look, I understand a lot of folks in politics gossip, and a lot of folks gossip about me. Further, I get it: The rest of the folks in that Capitol media love smearing Republicans and me perhaps more than most. It’s a sad bitter state of a sad bitter industry. 

Speaking of that sad and bitter industry, if you turn to the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch you will see them thump their chests about how awful those terrible, racist, and transphobic Republicans are and how they are just better and more righteous people for their enlightened views. 

Kendall has allowed me to share with y’all that around 10 or so Wednesday night, my friend had a reaction to some seizure medication she was taking combined with her second COVID vaccine shot she had received earlier in the day. 

Now, I wouldn’t have known this on my own, but because of our relationship, she has shared that some of the medication she is prescribed can make medical treatments more complicated so we called the paramedics to ensure she had the proper treatment. 

Obviously, an ambulance at the corner of High and Madison Streets gets attention. Then add in Scott Faughn and people plus Kendall and, well, you could power a small city from the buzz of folks gossiping. 

You would assume someone like, oh say a Jack Suntrup who works for a newspaper that proudly and very, very frequently touts its wokeness 24/7 like the Post-Dispatch, would take the time to contact either Kendall or me and be interested in the facts like a truly woke person — or even just a competent professional person — would do.

However, he was way too excited at getting to fire off a smear story at me to remember how phony woke he was and proceeded to call multiple elected officials and spread all kinds of rumors about Kendall and try somehow to shame someone from coming to my place. Trust me, I’ve seen this before; Jack is just younger and less competent than the last dozen or so take a shot at me.

It wasn’t until very late in the day when he spoke to Kendall, and unless I had publicly called him out on Twitter, I doubt he would have had the balls to call me. 

I really can’t list all of the rumors he spread about her (and I suppose me) because she may have a lawsuit against the Post-Dispatch, and I don’t want to do anything to keep her from taking their last dime. But it was just a real-life example of the racist, transphobic rumor-mongering and shaming that people at the Post-Dispatch preach is so sinister and hurtful to do. However, it was one of their own doing it, so I’m sure they will be more than happy to ignore it. 

So this simple white trash hillbilly decided to treat the phony woke a lesson. First of all, I’m no great guy. In fact, I’m much closer to the worst guy than a good guy. The white hat doesn’t fit nearly as well on my head as the black hat, but this clown had it coming. And of course, I’ll point out: Like every single one of these fights I’ve ever been forced into, he chose to begin it. 

So after my tweet was public, he did call me. However, I wasn’t going to spread rumors about him behind his back or smear someone else to get at him. Frankly, I’m just more of a man than that which is probably why we don’t see eye-to-eye on much. So after taping my show, I just asked a friend to livestream our conversation. 

Now, I could have taped it so in case it went south on me I could delete it, but I went live to give him a fair chance to explain how he isn’t the racist, transphobic, phony woke worthless bastard I had him figured for. 

Well as you will see on this video here, they write a lot on Twitter and on editorial pages, but when called out even by some lowly white trash hillbilly, he didn’t have a whole lot to say.

In case you don’t wanna listen, I’ll give you the cliff notes version here. I called out what he was doing as transphobic and racist right there on the livestream.

I reminded his crew of liberals and socialists that they had written countless smear pieces about me, and look at how much they have affected me. I have the nicest office in town and the Post-Dispatch’s offices are now in an alley beside the dumpster out behind Madison’s Restaurant. 

Then I offered to oblige him in a back-and-forth if he chose to dive into people’s personal lives — which my white trash offer stands. Trust your ol’ hillbilly pal when I say that I could go a hell of a lot farther. 

He seemed quite ready to get off the phone. 

Now there are a few lessons that folks can take from my interaction with the Phony Woke Brigade. 

First of all, if you’re a liberal reading this, it’s people like Jack Suntrup and the Post-Dispatch’s woke phoniness that make many conservatives roll their eyes about issues that you earnestly and passionately care about. He was more than willing to pass around any racist or transphobic rumor if it could have smeared me a little. 

Second of all, let’s see what the Post-Dispatch does now. If they are willing to condone this, I hope Kendall ends up owning the paper. She would probably make it a better product. I wonder what corporations like Sinclair Automotive or BJC or Schnucks will think if this behavior goes endorsed by them.

Next, let’s see who has Kendall’s back. Many liberal groups that advocate for LGBTQ rights think the Phony Woke Brigade at the Post-Dispatch are their friends. Will they hold their friends to any kind of standard or has phony wokeness spread farther than COVID-19? If you think the All-Star game has to be moved because you have to show your ID to vote, then what do you think of this? If the choice is to bury your head in the sand, then don’t get upset when folks roll their eyes at you.

Something I found particularly interesting is that Kenall told me that she has contacted the Post-Dispatch many times after reading their editorials asking them to consider covering the work she does on behalf of the LGBTQ community. However, the only time they have ever reached out to her was yesterday with their smear attempt. 

Again, I’m no good guy. And of course, the other liberal media types will take off their phony woke hats for a minute and defend him, and of course the PR folks — who are honestly just lobbyists for journalists anyway — will be compelled to defend the man they need good coverage from. But make no mistake, folks will be keeping a tally next time you wax sanctimonious about something. 

Lastly, I haven’t had my COVID-19 shot, but I have had my phony woke vaccine so I won’t bullshit my friends here that I agree with all of Kendall’s politics or views. However, I do enjoy her friendship, and she is welcome at my place anytime she wants regardless of the rumor mill. And for those who were nice enough yesterday to ask me about how she is feeling and not spread gossip about her, she came by my office yesterday around noon and told me she is feeling fine and we took this picture.

She isn’t my friend because of politics. I’m not trying to prove my wokeness with our friendship, but she is my friend, and I enjoy having people over from all political parties, interest groups, ideologies, and parts of the state to my place to visit with them because it helps give me a better perspective about where people are coming from and how they view the world in ways I might not have been exposed to. 

Anyone reading this is welcome to come by my place any time you’re in the state Capitol. It’s at 225 Madison St., caddy-corner from the Governor’s Mansion, and hilariously across the street from the alley you have to walk down and the dumpster you walk by to get to the Post-Dispatch’s office. 

I’ll hand you a cold frosty Anheuser Busch product, and we can talk politics, life, or the Cardinals. Everyone is welcome. 

If Jack Suntrup visited with a few more folks from a few more backgrounds he might have been a better man than this instead of just another chronicle of the phony woke.

Sunday on the show our featured guest will be Senator and Doctor Bob Onder with our Opinion Maker Panel of Rep. Chad Perkins, Alderwoman-elect Anne Schweitzer, Rep. Donna Baringer, and Jamey Murphy.