Crowds Protest As Florida’s Ron DeSantis Is Honored With Prestigious Award From Union League of Freedom

Toby Hazlewood

Gold medal awarded to DeSantis for protecting freedom
Ron DeSantis receives awardPhoto byTwitter of RonDeSantisFL

On January 24, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis was bestowed with the highest honor possible, by the Union League of Freedom in Philadelphia - the Gold Medal which was first awarded to Abraham Lincoln in 1863. While the award was granted for his role in protecting the freedom of Floridians through his leadership and decisions made during his time as governor, his award wasn't universally popular either with members of the public, or members of the Union League of Freedom itself.

Crowds of protestors gathered outside the venue to make their views known.

Most notable within the crowds outside the event, were representatives from the Black Lives Matter movement, there to protest various of DeSantis' most recent decisions - most significantly the recent ruling that removed an African-American studies course from the curriculum of high schools in the Sunshine State.

Complications and controversies

The presence of protestors outside the venue seems to echo the sentiment of certain members of the organization. Commenting on the award to DeSantis, State Senator Vincent Hughes expressed why so many were against the award for Florida's Governor:

"Why are you promoting this individual who, in their philosophy, sees so many people, Black and brown folks, LGBTQ+ folks, as secondhand citizens?"

The move by DeSantis and his administration has drawn criticism, even though Manny Diaz Jr - Education Commissioner for Florida was at pains to point out that African-American history is firmly a part of the curriculum in high schools already.

The optics of the situation seem to be what matters more than the specific facts. The move by DeSantis to remove certain topics from the curriculum is just the latest in a number of decisions that could be perceived as being racially motivated, even if his state goal is to prevent the advancement of so-called 'woke' politics in Florida.

DeSantis' profile on the national stage

That he should have been singled out for an award by such a prestigious body is a sign of the governor's growing profile outside of Florida. This could forebear his moves to run for President in 2024, a possibility that has been widely greeted within the Republican party.

Numerous polls suggest that DeSantis has overtaken the one-term former president Donald Trump as a the favored candidate, and yet there are other signs that DeSantis may to be as popular as the polls suggest.

A news anchor on MSNBC recently suggested that DeSantis should delay his presidential campaign until 2026, unless he wants to incur the wrath of Trump. While DeSantis may not be moved by the suggestion, there's another reason why his confidence may be knocked. A recent report has suggested that various commentators including some Republican donors feel that DeSantis lacks the charisma and interpersonal skills to ascend to the White House.

As such, it may not just be that some of his decisions and policies are unpopular, particularly with minority groups. It could also be material that many people simply don't like him or find him compelling as a candidate.

Whether he takes these factors into account in planning his onward career, remains to be seen.

Do you think that the protests against Ron DeSantis' award reflect how Americans feel about the Republican? Do you think that he is widely appreciated by the GOP? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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