Needing a dramatic moniker, the media is calling this the ‘Culture War’. Right vs. Left, Red vs. Blue, Us against Them. Possibly no politician in America right now is playing this game for higher stakes than Florida’s governor, sacrificing any number of people in his drive to divide us for his personal gain, as he takes aim at the White House.
Florida ranks 34th in Math, 22nd in Reading and 26th in high school graduation rates. What has DeSantis done to shore up education in Florida? He signed two highly controversial pieces of legislation into law earlier this year taking direct aim at educational institutions resulting in record teacher shortages. (See where have all of Florida’s teachers gone?) Dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and ‘Stop Woke Act’, these laws ban lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation and marginalizes LGBTQ people and their presence in society and prohibits workplace training or school instruction that teaches that individuals are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” and that people are privileged or oppressed based on race, gender, or national origin.
The LGBTQ Community:
In the state where the worst massacre of LGBTQ persons took place just a few years ago, DeSantis new laws targeting the LGBTQ community has fueled a terrifying increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Hateful references to gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ people surged online by more than 400 percent. “Online hate and lies reflect and reinforce offline violence and hate," said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. “The normalization of anti-LGBTQ+ narratives in digital spaces puts LGBTQ+ people in danger.” DeSantis has also made it harder for transgender people to get Medicaid support.
Florida is heavily dependent on tourism, yet DeSantis' office authored legislation that punished Disney, the state's largest employer, for speaking its mind on what it sees as legislation that targets at-risk communities. It is Florida taxpayers who may ultimately pay the price for DeSantis war against Disney, abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District would put taxpayers on the hook for millions in first responder services. Disney’s favorability ratings have dwindled to about thirty-three per cent. Its stock price is down nearly fifty per cent from a year ago. Making Disney seem an enemy will surely cause tourism to drop in the state, threatening local jobs.
DeSantis carps on and on about protecting freedoms and rights by attacking science, mask-wearing and vaccines. He bullied the Special Olympics into dropping its vaccine mandate for its athletes. He signed into law the controversial voting bill trying to undo voting rights, and in a true fascist move, established his own ‘election police force’. In a snit, he canceled funding for a Tampa Bay Rays practice stadium because of the team’s anti-gun violence tweet, (in a state that has had 90 school shootings.)
Florida is only one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid eligibility (paid for by a Federal grant) as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, prohibiting over 1 million residents the option of purchasing health insurance affordably on the exchange.
It appears that Florida’s governor DeSantis cares about only one thing – his own agenda in his bid to become president. Florida’s residents be damned.