Florida, where equality goes to die, is fast becoming a fascist state
Governor Ron DeSantis continues his anti-democratic crusade at record pace, hoping to be made America's dictator-in-chief
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Governor Ron DeSantis, fresh off his 6-week abortion ban and after declaring war on Disney, signed a breathtaking bill on Monday that bans Florida’s public colleges from spending funds on diversity, education, and inclusion programs.
Not content to ban teaching about America’s racist beginnings—including the brutality of slavery—and ban discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in K–12 schools, DeSantis is now turning to higher education, elevating whiteness and male superiority and demonizing women and minorities.
At the same time, a Florida teacher is being targeted for showing a Disney film, while DeSantis is promoting vigilantism among white people who are threatened by Black people. And that came right after his signing a draconian immigration bill into law that has immigrants fleeing the state in fear.
Make no mistake, this is another fascistic move in line with everything every strongman in history has done. In his case, the goal is to scapegoat vulnerable groups and reward those who follow DeSantis’ racist MAGA ideologies and look to him as an authoritarian who can keep them protected by white privilege.
DEI programs are all about making sure the staff is diverse and that an institution is promoting inclusion among faculty and students. It’s not about cutting anyone out, but rather about making sure diversity is added.
But DeSantis is abolishing what he called the "experiment" of DEI programs, which he claims are discriminatory.
"This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida. We are eliminating the DEI programs," he said.
This comes as a Hernando County, Florida teacher is suddenly under investigation for showing her class a Disney film that has a gay character. Per CNN:
A Florida teacher under state investigation for showing a Disney movie featuring a gay character said she wasn’t aware the state’s controversial law banning instruction about certain LGBTQ topics had been recently expanded to apply to her grade level.
"I just found out today that they increased it to my level," the fifth-grade teacher, Jenna Barbee told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Monday night. "I had no idea whatsoever that this was such a big deal."
The film "Strange World" is about a family of explorers and includes a character who is gay.
Though the teacher, Jenna Barbee, says parents of students in her fifth grade class had signed permission slips allowing their children to watch films rated PG, one parent complained. Even with the permission slips, it apparently violates the law for Barbee to show the students a Disney film if there’s a character who is gay.
Barbee had already submitted her resignation before showing the film, citing "politics and the fear of not being able to be who you are." So she was already out the door but is now under investigation!
This is everything that critics of the "don’t say gay" law warned about and were told they were exaggerating about by defenders. Those defending the law said it wouldn’t censor anyone’s lives nor make gay and trans people invisible because it was only aimed at "discussion" of sexual orientation and gender identity, not at the mere presence or identity of LGBTQ students, teachers, or parents. But if a character in a Disney film can’t be shown simply because of that character's orientation—and not because of discussion about it—clearly LGBTQ people are being made invisible.
Meanwhile, DeSantis, aspiring to be president by courting the MAGA base, over the weekend praised the actions of Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old white man who is now charged with second-degree manslaughter in the choking death of a homeless Black man, 30-year-old Jordan Neely, in a New York City subway car. As I’ve discussed here about the story that has received national attention, Neely was suffering from mental illness and was, according to witnesses, loud and abrasive, but he did not directly threaten anyone or lay a hand on anyone.
But Penny felt it was his right to come up from behind Neely, take him down, and put him in a chokehold for 15 minutes, which killed him.
This is something all of us should see as tragic. And in the case of anyone who dies at the hands of another, we should all want a court to decide what was warranted and what was not. But MAGA extremists, prejudging it all because a white former Marine took down a scary Black man, have joined Fox News and right-wing politicians in calling Penny a hero.
And then DeSantis sent out a tweet that helped raise over two million dollars for Penny, for whom conservatives have set up an online fundraiser.
"We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding citizens. We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let’s show this Marine… America’s got his back," DeSantis tweeted Friday, adding a link to the crowdfunding page for Perry’s defense fund.
Think about that. A soon-to-announce GOP presidential candidate is rewarding vigilantism and killing, calling it an act of a "good samaritan." It’s chilling. They’re not only refusing to let the justice system play out; they’re actually promoting the act of citizens killing people they personally find threatening—in this case, a homeless Black man—just as we saw with Kyle Rittenhouse.
And then there’s the harsh immigration bill DeSantis signed last week—which has already inspired a trucking boycott—which not only demonizes migrants; it’s affecting the agriculture and construction industries, which will ultimately pull down the state’s economy.
A new immigration law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week is expected to have a significant impact on the state’s construction industry.
The law, which DeSantis signed Wednesday and goes into effect July 1, requires private employers with 25 or more employees to confirm workers’ immigration status through the E-Verify system, according to Construction Dive.
The measure has already had an impact, with some employees in the construction and agricultural industries not showing up to work and leaving the state, CBS Miami reported.
DeSantis is turning Florida into a place that LGBTQ people and immigrants are leaving—like refugees fleeing a fascist state—as he now takes his mini-dictatorship on the road for his presidential campaign.