QUESTION: Is it true that Gen. Michael Flynn retired from the military to go to work as a civilian in the Obama administration? I heard he did. I don’t believe it.
ANSWER: You’re correct to doubt what you heard.
However, he did technically work for President Barack Obama when he was in the military, including the time he was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Multiple news articles I found said his retirement in 2014 was forced because changes he made at the agency weren’t in line with the administration’s priorities at the time. He’d been in the military for 33 years.
After his ouster, he formed Flynn Intel Group and started accepting speaking engagements. He then became an adviser to Donald Trump during his campaign and was rewarded with a job as national security adviser in Trump’s administration.
It was short lived — 24 days, before he encountered trouble and resigned.
Trump later pardoned Flynn as he faced possible charges of making false statements to the FBI about communications he had with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.
Q: What is the word “woke”? Why are they putting that in front of words on the news?
A: I can’t speak to the times you’ve heard the word used on broadcast news, but what I can tell you, generally speaking, is that we have witnessed the evolution of a word to include a new definition.
The online Merriam-Webster dictionary says it added this new definition in September 2017 after it increasingly became used as a word to mean “social awareness”: “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”
“If you frequent social media, you may well have seen posts or tweets about current events that are tagged #staywoke. Woke is a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English (sometimes called AAVE). In AAVE, awake is often rendered as woke, as in, ‘I was sleeping, but now I’m woke,’” according to a “Words We’re Watching” entry on the dictionary’s website.
“It can be hard to trace slang back to its origins since slang’s origins are usually spoken, and it can be particularly difficult to trace a slang word that has its origins in a dialect. Woke’s transformation into a byword of social awareness likely started in 2008, with the release of Erykah Badu’s song ‘Master Teacher.’”
That song included repetition of the phrase “I stay woke.”
While the word originally was associated with people becoming aware of racial injustice, its use is broadening over time.