How to Woke-Proof Your Life (Guest: Teresa Mull)

Wokeness surrounds us, from government to Hollywood to corporations to social media, and it impacts us in negative ways big and small. What are practical ways we can escape its grasp in our own lives?

Crisis Point
Crisis Point
How to Woke-Proof Your Life (Guest: Teresa Mull)


Teresa Mull’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the New York Post, the American Conservative, and many other publications. Teresa is currently an assistant editor of the Spectator World, a policy adviser for education at the Heartland Institute, and part-time editor of the Philipsburg Journal. She is the author of Woke-Proof Your Life: A Handbook on Escaping Modern, Political Madness and Shielding Yourself and Your Family by Living a More Self-Sufficient, Fulfilling Life.



Eric Sammons:

Wokeness surrounds us from government to Hollywood to corporations to social media, and it’s having a big impact on our lives. What practical ways can we escape its grasp in our lives? That’s what we’re going to talk about today on Crisis Point. Hello, I’m Eric Sammons, your host, the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine. Before we get started, just want to encourage people to smash that like button and to subscribe to the channel, to follow us on social media, @crisismag at all the major social media channels.

So let’s get into it. So we have our guest today is Teresa Mull. She’s the author of Woke-Proof Your Life, I’m going to make sure I get the subtitle right, because it’s kind of long, A handbook on Escaping Modern Political Madness and Shielding Yourself and Your Family by Living a More Self-Sufficient, Fulfilling Life. And this is actually published by Crisis Publications, yay.

Teresa Mull:


Eric Sammons:

And this is very new book, I have not even got a physical copy of yet. So I’ll pop up on the screen there, a picture of the cover so people can see it. And I’ll have a link where you can buy it as well in the show notes. But I do have a digital copy. But we want to talk about this topic today. Teresa Mull, also, she’s… I’m going to give your full bio so people-

Teresa Mull:


Eric Sammons:

… can be very impressed as I was when I read it. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the New York Post, the American Conservative, and many other publications, most recently Crisis Magazine as well. She’s currently an assistant editor of the Spectator World, a policy advisor for education at the Heartland Institute and part-time editor of the Philipsburg Journal. So that’s a lot of writing you do, isn’t it?

Teresa Mull:

It is, yeah. I tell people that’s the only thing I’m good at. So whenever you consider that, it’s not that really that much. It’s the only thing I know how to do.

Eric Sammons:

Well, it’s good if you know how to do one thing well and just do it very well. I mean that’s good. I like it. So what I want to talk about then is this idea of wokeness and woke-proofing your life. Your book, it was fascinating. I really enjoyed it. And a lot of the themes you talk about we’ve talked about here on Crisis Point, so I want to get into that.

But first, why don’t we go ahead and define the term wokeness and what we mean by woke, because you will get pushback on this that, “Oh, right-wingers just call everything woke. It’s just something you don’t like is woke.” So what exactly do you mean when you talk about wokeness and woke-proofing your life?

Teresa Mull:

The definition I give in the book is a sociopolitical ideology that is characterized by the manipulation of noble goals for the purpose of controlling and destroying society. It’s essentially just, it’s a form of evil and it’s left-wing radical, left-wing ideology, political correctness on steroids. The reason I think those who are “woke” get so upset whenever they see conservatives using woke to label all the bad stuff that they’re trying to do as woke is because people are reacting to all the woke, to the woke agenda, to the woke movement. They’re pulling back from it and they’re rejecting it. And whenever you label it as woke, they’re like, “Wait, no.”

This is supposed to be a tricky term. It is vague. It sounds good. It sounds cool, but it’s really a smokescreen for all of this evil stuff. But once you’re able to define it and you’re able to pinpoint what it is, which is evil, that’s whenever you’re able to combat it. So they don’t want us to be able to define it, they don’t want us to be able to really know what it’s all about. So that’s why it’s important for people to know what it is.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. So I’m old enough to remember back when I was in college, this is the 1990s, political correctness was the term. And I remember, the college I went to the mascot was Redskins, and there was a big push when I was there to change it to something not politically incorrect as they call it. And so there was definitely a push back then, even back then towards this idea of, political correctness, we have to speak a certain way, especially on college campuses. How exactly did political correctness morph into wokeness? Because I feel like, like you said it’s political correctness on steroids, but when did that happen that it just all of a sudden became so much more destructive than it was even back in my day?

Teresa Mull:

I think that’s a combination of things. Affirmative action was maybe what we see as DEI, diversity, equity, and inclusion now. We had global warming back in the day, now it’s just all called climate change. Any sort of weather that is not sunny and 75 is climate change, and it’s everybody’s fault and we need to completely change our lives because of it. So these ideas are not really anything new. I would say what’s caused them to explode and become so extreme is because they have been sort of percolating for many years, as you described. The concept was around for several years now.

But I think that COVID had a lot to do with how we see wokeness manifesting itself now. I cite technology as a big reason for the rise of wokeness, because it’s such an easy way to disseminate woke rhetoric and to make people believe all the same things, to homogenize our minds. Because you have these cell phones that pretty much everybody’s addicted to. I certainly use my phone more than I should. I know that. And that’s something that I encourage people to analyze in their own lives is how much you’re allowing these woke forces and this messaging to come into your eyes and your ears and your brain and ultimately your soul.

So during COVID, we were locked down. We were separated from one another. The woke movement relies on people who are isolated and alienated from one another to work its evil forces among us. Because wokeness it relies on people who are lonely and depressed to turn their focus inward on themselves and their own misery. And that’s certainly what we saw during COVID. Everybody was pretty afraid. And then we also were relying on our phones for information, and that was an easy way to disseminate fear. And then there was also a lot of screen addiction that happened during that time, which we have not recovered from. It was labeled by one university as an unseen crisis of the COVID Pandemic was actually screen addiction.

So you think about where wokeness really comes into being, all these woke phrases and where it festers, a lot of it’s on social media and mainstream media, which a lot of people get through their phones. Because if you put your phone down, you go out and interact with people in real life, there’s not that much wokeness going on out there. It’s manufactured and bred online, and so many of these tech companies are owned and operated by super radical left-wing people. And they’re not only promoting woke messaging, but they’re canceling and censoring anybody who disagrees with wokeness. So they’re really controlling the narrative so easily through our phones and through big tech. So I think that’s pretty much why wokeness has really exploded here in recent years.

Eric Sammons:

Because I remember back in the early ’90s when I was in college and there was this push for the drop the Redskins name, which they eventually did do after I was out, it’s like everybody just had the same means of getting information out. You put some posters up on the bulletin boards. You talk to people. There was no social media. I mean, there was no internet as we know it today back then. And so it was much more difficult to get this mob mentality kind ginned up as they do now.

Now, we’re going to talk about, I think this is going to be very helpful for people, some very practical ways to woke-proof for your life. Because that’s what your book is, it really is a handbook. That’s a good way to put it. I like that in the subtitles. It’s a handbook. I didn’t realize that. Actually, the funny thing is when I was reading it, I was kind like… I just want to tell people who are considering the book or thinking about it, it’s not theoretical. It has some of that, but it’s really practical.

So I want to get into that, but I want to first start off with you make a point early in the book about the futility of debating with woke people. And I want you to explain that and talk about does that mean we just ignore them always? We give up? What do you mean when you say, “It’s fruitless to debate in most of these situations.”

Teresa Mull:

I ask people whenever they are… A big theme of the book is how precious time is. And I have a quote in there I love, I saw in the back of a tractor trailer or something, it said, “Time is the currency of life. Spend it wisely.” So it’s not always worth your while to debate with people who are super woke. I don’t want people who are not woke just to see someone expressing a woke opinion here or there or agreeing with the mob mentality and to dismiss them outright every time, just because you might just be misguided. So we really need to approach people with compassion. Realize that maybe not everybody grew up in a household that had a good foundation, “built on rock,” as scripture says. And to really look at the person’s character, and whether they are someone who is seeking truth and really wants to live a virtuous life and is open to that.

And if they’re capable of being convinced. Because there are certainly, I think, the puppet masters who are working the strings of the woke movement completely have just sold their souls to the devil. They don’t care about truth. They’re just going to say and do whatever it takes to get their earthly reward. And those are the type of people, if you’re arguing with them, that a man can’t have a baby… There’s just comes a certain point where you’re like, “Why am I having this argument? This person obviously doesn’t believe in reality.” They’re either crazy or they’re just a complete liar, and there’s no point in wasting your breath.

But of course there’s a lot of people who are caught in the middle. There’s a lot of people who have heard the very clever language that the woke movement is very skilled at spinning to make what they’re selling sound very appealing. Who doesn’t agree that equality and justice are good things? Who doesn’t believe that? Of course Black lives matter, and love is love, and there’s happy rainbow flags. They’re very good at drawing people in and convincing them to adopt their way of thinking.

So keeping that in mind, whenever you approach somebody, see how they react to the truth that you are telling them. And whenever you’re debating them in a kind, gentle, gracious way, because you care about them and you do want to lead them to truth and to salvation, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. And if they’re receptive, to keep going. And if they just reject what you say because they don’t want to hear it, they just want to put their rainbow flag up on their Instagram page and feel good about themselves and virtue signal and go off with their debauched to lifestyle and be miserable, then you can dismiss them and move on and shake the dust.

But, yes, there’s certainly a time and a place when you realize that people don’t care about truth and all they care about is being, basically, heathens and hedonists. So I think it’s pretty obvious if you’ve ever tried to debate somebody, whether they’re actually seeking truth and whether they’re open to it and they want to find it.

Eric Sammons:

I think that’s good advice, because I know online, particularly these debates, you can tell pretty quickly, at least I can tell within a tweet or two or a post or two if the person actually is interested in a discussion and trying to learn, be open-minded. And if they’re just like, “I got to score points here. I got to defeat this person.” Now, do you think there’s… I think there’s part of this whole wokeness and these wars we’re fighting, the cultural wars, I feel like… I’m not dismissing how important some of the issues are. Obviously, if some dude in a dress wants to go in the bathroom my girl’s in, I’m going to fight. I’m not trying to dismiss that.

However, would you agree that some of it does seem to be the elite, so to speak, are trying to foment this unrest with us, between us, find answers, so we don’t really look at them, and they can continue to rule us? I’ve heard that already before and I find it very attractive that part of it’s just a matter of they want to stoke this unrest between us, so that we don’t look at them. Because if we look at them, when we see some real serious problems in what’s going on.

Teresa Mull:

Right. Yeah. The devil does his best work amid division and chaos, and these people who are orchestrating all of this division amongst us, they know what they’re doing. They’re pretty savvy. And the way that they succeed is by pitting us against one another. Exactly. Whenever you’re fighting an enemy on the ground, you’re not looking at the general who’s telling them what to do or directing everybody else. So what comes to mind whenever you describe the situation is the climate change, “climate change agenda,” which I think is kind of a woke weapon that’s not talked about enough or not recognized by people as really the true weapon that it is.

Because the thing that gets me about climate change is that people like Joe Biden will say, “This is the number one threat to civilization. It’s even worse than nuclear bombs.” And he’s flying around in his airplane. He’s doing nothing to change his life, quite the opposite. Same thing with Leonardo DiCaprio or Al Gore, they’re such hypocrites. So you can see these people telling us one thing, trying to take away our gas stoves, making us so that we shouldn’t drive to go see grandma on the weekend. She lives too far away and our gas burning cars are going to destroy the environment.

It’s all about controlling us and making our lives miserable and making us dependent on government or on these forces that know better and are going to save us. Where they make no sacrifice themselves, and they don’t change their lives at all. And we see that across the board. It says in scripture, “By their fruits, you’ll know them.” And what these false prophets are saying, they’re not matching what they’re doing, and it’s obviously just so that they can have more control and more power and more prestige and all of these things that they are gaining while they’re controlling the rest of us, and, “Do as I say, not as I do.” So that’s one I urge people to look at. Pull back the curtain a little bit on climate change and you’ll see kind of how the woke people operate across the board.

Eric Sammons:

Now, one of the things… Okay, so now I want to talk more practically about just individuals, because this is really, I feel like the book’s directed much towards families, just regular families, trying to live their life with the woke forces. So I want to talk a little bit about that. And what I really liked was at the beginning, very soon in the beginning, this is when I was like, “Okay, I know I’m going to like this book,” because When you said, “The foundation of a woke-proof life is simplify and localize.” And I’m just going to leave it at that. Why don’t you explain what you mean by simplify and localize?

Teresa Mull:

A lot of questions people have is about how to live in a world practically whenever it seems like every time you turn around, another corporation is doing something obscenely woke. I have a list in the book of all the woke companies, and a lot of them are umbrellas that will own a dozen other companies that you and I have come to rely on. We’ve been giving them our money for years. They’re a part of American culture. They make amazing products and services that we love. And then you start to cut those out of your life and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness, I’m going to have to go live off grid and become Amish and be a homesteader.” Which works for some people, it’s quite tempting to me at times. I don’t think I’m quite tough enough for all of that, but it can seem that way. It can seem really intimidating.

So the good news is that it’s not that bad. There are still plenty of companies that are either non-woke or just neutral, and I have a list of those as well. But then there’s also plenty of options that people can look at. And in building this woke-proof life, I find it as kind of a fun adventure and it actually brings more depth and richness to your life.

So simplify and localize, look at what you’re buying from Amazon every week or every day or Walmart or somewhere that’s pretty woke, and ask yourself, “Do I really need this thing?” Chances are you’re probably making life more expensive than it needs to be. You’re buying more than you have to. You’re kind of filling your life with consumeristic ends rather than hobby, skills, things that don’t really require a lot of stuff or to spend any money at all in some cases. So that’s a way that you can simplify.

And then localize if there is something that you need rather than just automatically go online and click, click and it arrives the next day for Mr. Bezos, maybe consider going around town. Leaving your house, something pretty novel, go down to the hardware store. You might spend a couple extra bucks, but you are helping your local community. You’re keeping the money locally. You’re helping somebody you know to thrive. Chances are you’ll make a friend out of it. Maybe you’ll run into a neighbor while you’re there. Maybe you’ll meet someone new. Maybe you could help someone carry a bag to their car and practice a little bit of virtue that way.

Once you start kind of getting out of the rut of modern, convenient, easy life, there’s a whole world that can be open to you as far as experiences go that are very life-giving and life enriching. And that starts in your community. And it’s been really fun for me to try to do that. And I find that the more effort I make, the more God kind of rewards me with these interesting interactions that I have and just the depth to life that you don’t get whenever it’s just automated and online all the time.

Eric Sammons:

And one of the things that you say, and I think this kind of ties into the localize, is you have a whole chapter on moving, meaning moving away from where you might be right now. And this is something I’ve talked about a good deal on this podcast. And I understand people have a reticence against that immediately, because they have family nearby, a job, or whatever the case may be. But you make a pretty strong case about potentially moving from where you are, particularly out of urban areas to rural areas. So why don’t you make your defense here of why people should consider doing that?

Teresa Mull:

I’m definitely a small town girl. I’m a little bit of a hillbilly and I’m very adamant that everybody should give small town life a chance. Not to say, of course, that we don’t have our own problems here. Of course, we have a lot of poverty. We have some drugs here. It’s kind of the same thing across the country, but there is research to back up my romanticizing of the country life. And that is that people who live in less populated, more rural places are more likely to call their neighbors their friend. It’s also people who live in the countryside are happier. There’s been tons of studies done on that.

You think about people who live in a city, how many faces they see every day. It just kind of becomes a blur. You don’t really recognize people as people anymore. You just… I don’t know, anytime I go to a city, I see other people as kind of competition and annoying. There’s only so many parking spaces, I got to beat that guy. Or there’s only so many reservations at the restaurant, I got to get there first. You start seeing people as competition.

And you don’t have that so much in the countryside. It’s easier to form a network of connections whenever you run into the same person three times a day. You get to know them, you talk to them, you get to know their family, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a while, then the generations start to know one another and you form these networks of trust and you can help one another to thrive. And I just find it to be a really comforting experience.

I know if I break down somewhere in town, I could go to 10 different doors and ask for help, and I would be absolutely fine. And of course it’s not the completely perfect hallmark picture, perfect life that is portrayed in so much of our films and things like that. But it is just, it’s a slower, easier pace of life that I find is easier to handle and it’s less stressful. And it enables you to appreciate your fellow humans rather than to see them as somebody that you’re competing against. And I think that’s just a more Christian, healthy attitude. And science agrees with me.

Eric Sammons:

What about the so-called middle road between the urban and rural, which is the suburbs? I know you talk about that as well.

Teresa Mull:

That has been kind of controversial with people. I have a little section called Beware the Burbs, with, again, some studies that have been done on the advent of suburban life. After World War II, people wanted some space. They could afford to own some property, they wanted a yard and things away from the city, which I understand that. But the thing about suburbs, generally speaking, of course there are exceptions, but it’s kind of neither here nor there, where they have found that the values of suburbs, the value is more on being an individual, individualism rather than community. Because you think about that your typical suburb will have a nice house with a garage and a plot of land and your separated from your neighbor. You sleep there at night, you leave from there in the morning, but for the rest of the day, you’re generally at work or at school if you’re a kid and then you come home there and sleep.

Whereas if you’re involved, you’re living in a small town on a street, you’re out and about. You run into your neighbors while you’re in town shopping, going to the doctor, things like that. You’re constantly interacting with the same people. And the same thing is also true of at least older parts of cities, which were built with sidewalks and parks and around a courthouse in a more of a city square that was designed so that people could socialize and interact with one another. That was the attitude of these places whenever they were built.

And we don’t have that with suburbs so much. People still use maybe a city or a town for their resources, but they just go there and pop back to their home, where they’re isolated and kind of by themselves. So I do tell people to be aware of the burbs. Of course, you can woke-proof your life no matter what your situation is. And if you make a point to grow a community and to cultivate friendships and neighborliness, you can do that anywhere. But I just think small towns and also old parts of cities lend themselves to the sort of community that I have in mind, and that has been proven to make people happier.

Eric Sammons:

One of the things about the suburb is, and this has been written about before, the phenomenon of we went from the front porch to the back deck. That the old houses is built with the front porch because people walk by, you talk to them, you chat, you have conversations. Now, most houses are built with no front porch, but with a back deck ,where you hang out by yourself in your backyard with maybe your kids or whatever, but that’s it. You have no communication with… And a lot of times there’s a fence, a privacy fence around the back too. So you’re kind of telling the whole world, “Please, don’t have anything to do with me,” which is kind of phenomenon that’s most prevalent in the suburbs.

Now, recently we actually ran at Crisis an article on 10 of the best cities to raise a Catholic family. And one of the things we did was, and this annoyed a few people, we didn’t include any, what I would call, really large cities. I think the largest city we include was Kansas City, which is like 300,000 or something like that, which I consider a good-sized city. I live outside Cincinnati, which is another one of the big cities. But then there was a number of smaller towns that were included in it as well.

And I got to ask you, first of all… So I’m going to put a link to that too, because I think that kind ties into what you’re saying about if you’re thinking about moving, finding a different style, you can find some small cities there, particularly for Catholic families. But what would you say is a small city? You might define it differently than some people, the way I would or other people would. What would you say is a small city?

Teresa Mull:

I don’t know. I think my limit’s about 50,000 people, maybe somewhere in there. I live in central Pennsylvania, not too far from State College, which is where Penn State is. And if it weren’t for State College, we would really be in the middle of nowhere, which I’d be fine with. I’m sometimes glad that State College exists, because they do have some top-notch doctors, research, a little bit of culture, things like that. But it seems pretty big to me. I live in a town of about 3,000 people and going over there, we kind of joke, “It’s like going to the big city,” but it’s manageable still. It is growing, but they have everything you need. They do have culture, fun restaurants and things like that and nice little shops and stuff. But that’s about as big as I really want to go.

And the older I get, the smaller my tolerance becomes. I actually lived in Washington, DC for a couple years. I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for a college, also, and kind of got that out of my system. And I just feel exhausted whenever I come back from a city. And again, statistics show that people who live in cities are more stressed out and less satisfied with their existence than people who live in a slower pace lifestyle.

Eric Sammons:

What about the argument, though, you mentioned it there was, in a smaller town, you’re much less likely to have cultural things for your kids to go to like museums and art shows and things like that? Now, I have an argument against that, but I want to hear what your argument is. What are they missing out on? Are they missing out on anything that’s important? And is there a way around that? Or do we just kind of say, “Well, it’s better in a smaller town for all these other reasons”?

Teresa Mull:

I interview a family in the book who were living down in Lancaster, which is right near Harrisburg and not too far from Philly. And the husband was working in construction. And during COVID, it was really, really booming down there. People were moving to Lancaster and he was working all the time, and he was exhausted and actually having some health issues. He’s a young, healthy guy, but he was having health problems, because he was so stressed out and trying to keep up with the pace of work and the city life and all those things. And they moved up here to this area, closer to his family. They live on a farm back in the woods, and they’re thriving now.

But the mother, the wife of the family was worried that her kids were going to miss out on all these experiences that they had down there in the city. Those cultural things, playing on sports teams, music lessons, things like that. And that’s certainly a concern. My advice to people is that’s what trips are for. If you save up and take your family, maybe, to the big city, most people… Even if you do live in a little tiny hick town like I do, Philadelphia is a only four hours away, Pittsburgh’s three hours, take a weekend trip with the family, visit museums. You can infuse your life with the culture.

And though I do harp against big tech and the internet and screen time, it can be a blessing, of course, if we use it properly. And there’s so many tools that you can bring culture into your life and in a guarded, measured way, so you can expose your children to great art and music and all those sorts of things that way.

And sometimes being challenged to experience culture can make you appreciate it even more. Because, I don’t know, I lived in DC and I didn’t do most of the museums and tourist things because I wasn’t a tourist, I lived there. So whenever the weekends came around, I was like, “Oh, I just want to relax. I don’t want to go out and deal with the crowds and the hustle and bustle with the museums.” So I know my dad was the same way. He grew up in Philadelphia, a few blocks from the Liberty Bow, and never saw it until he was like 40. Because I don’t know, you take it for granted. So if you’re forced to seek these things out, I think sometimes there is a deeper appreciation there. What are your thoughts? You have your own ideas on that?

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I think that, ultimately, the trade-offs are such that it’s just not worth it. Because most of what we call culture stuff has become so woke itself, that there isn’t that much great culture stuff in cities. And here’s a perfect example. My teenage daughter I had been reading Shakespeare, and I thought it’d be great to take her to a Shakespearean play here in Cincinnati. Well, I look up the local Shakespeare theater, and they have one here, but of course I make sure I do some research. And of course, they add woke elements into it. They don’t just stick to Shakespeare. They have to change things and add inappropriate things, but also transgender messages and all that stuff.

And so for me, it’s like even though I live… Cincinnati’s not a big city, it’s a medium-sized city, I would say, but it still has things like that. It’s very difficult to actually find one, cultural type things that are worthwhile that anymore, because they’ve been infected by the woke regime. And so I just don’t know how much it’s a benefit anymore to do that.

I mean, I think probably one thing about bigger cities, if your kids are into sports, a bigger town is helpful for that, because you have more teams and things like that. But how important is that, I mean, ultimately, compared to other things? So I kind of like your idea of if you make it a trip. I mean, I lived in the DC area for 10 years and we went to visit the White House a month before we moved away, because we knew we’re about to move away and we did not go before then. And it was like we’ve been there for 10 years, never once went down to visit until that. And that’s only because we were leaving.

And so I do think that the bigger cities, particularly the really big cities that have been captured, essentially, like a New York City, a Philadelphia, a Washington, DC, a Chicago, something like that, it just is getting harder and harder in my mind to defend being able to raise a family there, because of all the wokeness that surrounds you every step you go.

So I’m with you on that. I was just curious what you thought about that. But another thing you mentioned a couple of times now is social media. Now, I have found, whenever I have brought up things against social media, a lot of people tune out, because we hear it all the time. And in fact, most people watching this or listening to us, I bet you’re doing it on their phone. And so what do you say, how can social media, how does it impact us from the perspective of the woke conflict and bringing wokeness into our lives? And then secondarily, then what can we do to stop that other than just, okay, throw away your phone?

Teresa Mull:

Well, as we spoke about earlier, the people who are controlling so much of big tech, until Elon Musk took over Twitter or X or whatever it is now, that was a really woke platform. We know that Facebook is the same way, Instagram, the way that they sensor Catholic teaching or any sort of traditional narrative that goes against the woke movement, you can just be shut down and canceled. And in its place, you’re getting all this woke messaging. And some of it is quite subtle, which is why we have to be especially careful whenever children are involved, who might not be able to discern that what they’re seeing and what they’re absorbing into their minds is, in fact, biased.

So I ask people to use technology as a resource and not a recourse. We all use our phones more than we should, and just be aware of what you’re allowing your eyes and your ears and your heart and your soul to absorb, because you can do it mindlessly. And there’s a study that I cite in the book about how, I forget the exact term that’s used, but it’s basically whenever you see something repeated over and over, you kind of stop noticing it. So you see a rainbow flag on your Instagram or whatever it is, time and time again, and then it just becomes part of you and you just get used to seeing it.

The same thing with woke terminology. We start using these terms that we see on our screens and that we read and that we hear in the mainstream media, and we almost become hypnotized by it, like zombies, who just… the wokeness is part of us then, and we don’t even really realize it. So of course, social media can be a great resource for people to grow a community of faith to connect with like-minded people.

But I caution people, it’s how much time are you spending on there? It’s easy. I know people that I love and care about very much, they make going on and reading the news kind of a job or a mission, “We have to be informed. We have to fight against these people. We have to know what’s going on.” Yes, you do, but up to a point. I advise people to put strict limits on themselves, like you would do anything, if you were to go on a diet or trying to get healthier, to stick to a regimen of pick one TV show to watch a day for the news, maybe one hour a day, or choose 10 accounts that you’re following on social media and get rid of the rest of them. And just really curate your technology use so that it is elevating your life and it’s making you a better person, not just distracting you from life or making you constantly agitated.

Because we want our lives to be peaceful and purposeful. And a lot of what social media does is just add to the chaos. I refer to it as unforced stress. If anybody plays tennis, they know an unforced error is whenever your opponent doesn’t do anything tricky, you just mess up on your own, basically. So a lot of what social media is is we’re bringing this unforced stress into our lives, and if we didn’t know that it was going on, it wouldn’t really affect us one way or another. So just to be really aware of what you’re allowing to come into your soul.

Eric Sammons:

And that’s one of the things I don’t think people realize, when they look at the woke threat, they think mostly of things like, for example, having a guy going into a women’s bathroom and things like that, or your public library having all things gay books in the children’s section, things like that. And those are all terrible things and we should oppose them, but I think it seems like the threat to me, and I’ll admit I got a lot of this from reading your book, realizing is the amount of stress, anxiety, and conflict it creates in our life. That it gets rid of our peace, and we see everything as a constant battle then.

So for example, when you go out in public and you’re with real people in real life, like you said, you realize the world isn’t as woke as it’s presented to be in social media. But I think what happens though is if you’re constantly on your phone doom scrolling and doing all that, then when you interact with real people, I think it can start to seep into that. And you don’t have those real interactions like you used to, because you do start to see everything as a conflict. Like, “oh, what does this person really mean by that?” “Oh, are they part of the woke crowd?” Or something like that. Instead of just thinking like, oh, this is just my neighbor who I’m just talking to about the weather or something like that. It’s not meant to be…

And I think that’s a more subtle threat that we might not be as aware of. That, it’s not that you don’t fight when you have to, but if your whole life is just based on anxiety, conflict, and everything, you kind of are letting the woke forces win in a sense. Does that make sense? I mean, that seemed to be a message of your book, am I reading it right?

Teresa Mull:

Yeah, absolutely. This stuff seeps into you and has an impact on you, and it is very subtle. But, yeah, you sit there on your phone, next thing you know, an hour has gone by and you have all of this, basically, junk food that you’ve ingested in your body. And then you go out into the world, and that’s how your brain is operating now with all of these thoughts that are going on inside of you. I make the analogy that you wouldn’t open your mouth and let a random stranger just put whatever substance they wanted into your body, physically. But that’s exactly what we’re doing whenever we whip out our phone because we have five minutes to spend in a doctor’s room or waiting room. And when we pull out our phone and we just start scrolling and we read these headlines and look at these TikTok videos and we just absorb whatever they want to throw at us.

And that’s not healthy. That’s not a good way to be. And whether we realize it or not, it does have an impact. These subtle forces do work their way in. And then as you said, whenever you see your neighbor, you have these influences inside of you and it starts to corrupt or to pervert kind of the way that you look at the world.

And I think that’s another consequence of the COVID lockdowns and all the things that we saw going on with COVID is that it started to pit people against one another in a way that I don’t think we’ve really seen, a lot of people said, since the Civil War with, are you vaccinated or unvaccinated? Are you a mask person? Are you this? Are you that? And I don’t think we’ve recovered from that. And wokeness preyed upon that sort of division to work its way into our mindsets.

And now I’ve never seen growing up people certainly flying a gay flag or having so many don’t tread on me flags. Just people feel the need to take a stance and say, “This is who I am. You’re different from me.” And really focusing on our differences rather than what we have in common. This attitude shift. And certainly that’s how wokeness thrives. They’re counting on that chaos to swoop in and take advantage of all of us.

Eric Sammons:

And I think you’re right about how COVID lockdowns really changed things a lot. Because, actually, I don’t actually live in Cincinnati, I live outside of it in a relatively small town, I mean, you’re going to see Trump flags everywhere and things like that, so it’s a very conservative area. But during the lockdowns and during the mask mandates, all that stuff, boy, it was stressful just to go out of the house. Because you don’t know is the person behind the cashier is going to start yelling at you for not wearing a mask? Or even more importantly, is the person just standing next to you in the aisle going to start yelling at you because don’t have a mask on? And all of these… It just really brought conflict where you should be able to just go out to your… especially in a smaller town, where you just go and you talk to your neighbors and things like that, and you talk to the cashier.

I think you mentioned that in the book, even the idea of talking to your cashier is an anti-woke thing to do. That you don’t go to the self-checkout, but you actually go to the human checkout and talk to the person. And that’s something my wife, she’s always done that. And I remember one time, this cashier, she got to know him after a while at the local grocery store, and it was right down the street, a block or two from our parish, and she found out he was Catholic but didn’t really go to mass, and she was encouraging him to go to mass and stuff. It’s just like because she had seen him enough and actually talked to him and didn’t have her face in her phone. So I think even those things are anti-woke actions, in a sense, because they make us more human. And ultimately, I mean, that’s what wokeness is, it is anti-human in a lot of ways.

Now I want to wrap it up here with one last question, which is, we’ve talked about some radical changes people could make, move to a small town, do things like that, chuck your phone, whatever. But what would you say, what advice would you give to a family? So it’s a Catholic family, it’s just like, I do want to escape from a lot of this world, but I can’t make necessarily major changes as far as moving or whatever. What can they do? What are some small steps they can do to start off to just make their lives less stressful and more woke-proof to get started?

Teresa Mull:

Well, certainly start with God, “seek ye first.” Try to strengthen your relationship with God. Pray together as a family. If you don’t go to church, obviously, please start going to church. Go to church as often as you can, as a family. Participate in your church activities, the Knights of Columbus picnics, things like that. Anything that gets you off your phone and away from the woke forces is pretty much a positive thing, if you’re doing it together as a family, and it brings about virtue and unites you with people who are in line with your beliefs and who are going to help you get to heaven. So the first thing we start off with is church.

Education is another thing that is super powerful. Obviously, if you have to send your child to public school, at least make sure that you are reading to him at nighttime, stories, lives of the saints, things like that. Just really nurturing good works of literature, doesn’t even of course necessarily have to be religious. But just good things that makes your child have forces of virtue and goodness and is just completely different from all of the obnoxious nonsense that comes through on the screens.

And then as you are working to put boundaries on screen time, you’re going to have more free time to do things together. And I encourage people to get outside, at least once a day, take a walk as a family, just enjoy nature. You can do fun activities like maybe you start learning the different bird songs together as a family or identifying trees or flowers or things like that that gets you appreciating the creation that God has given us. I think it’s a real disservice that we have all of this beautiful creation, and so many of us ignore it, because we’re too busy looking at our screens and being involved in the woke nonsense.

So those are some simple, cheap, most of them free things that you can do together as a family. I also encourage people to make their homes a refuge from wokeness. So a place that the world-weary can go and they’re going to find all sorts of beautiful things, whether it be art, books, music, things of that nature that remind us of a world before wokeness invaded us and started poisoning. So whenever you come in from the woke world into your home, let it be a refuge. And I have some guidelines on how to do that.

And I also have a guideline on how to become a more conscientious consumer. Doing some things yourself, again, I have that list of non-woke companies, and then how much fun it can be to go antiquing, to refurbish things as a family. Maybe instead of buying a new dining room table from Walmart or Ikea or something, you go and get grandpas out of the garage and fix it up together and paint it and learn something together. And then you share that with your family members.

So there’s lots of simple, easy, affordable ways that people can get back to their community and to helping one another and fighting the woke forces, because they don’t want us to be happy and healthy and holy altogether. They want us to be miserable and selfish and to have chaos. So we must not let them, we must not let them divide and conquer.

Eric Sammons:

Amen. Amen, to that. And so I would just encourage people, if you want to get started, live a better life, basically a woke-proof life is go ahead and get the book Woke-Proof Your Life: A Handbook on Escaping Modern Political Madness and Shielding Yourself and Your Family by Living a More Self-Sufficient, Fulfilling Life. And I hope that’s what we all want to do. I appreciate you being here, Teresa, and giving us some good advice here. And God bless you.

Teresa Mull:

Thank you. Thank you for having me, and God bless you, too.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, until the next time, everybody, God love you.

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