By Diane Roberts
OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE — In the first speech of his 2024 presidential campaign, not-so-cunningly disguised as the “State of the State” address, Ron DeSantis declared, We have made Florida the freest state in these United States.
And the freedoms just keep coming.
Florida women will be free from controlling their own bodies.
DeSantis supports a bill to outlaw abortions after 15 weeks because, as he put it, “I mean when you start talking about 15 weeks where you have really serious pain and heartbeats and all this stuff.”
No exceptions for rape or incest.
We want those fetuses free to grow up and, as proud Americans, have the opportunity to get shot to death with the guns we’re free to take to church, to class, to Pilates, to Publix, to Girl Scout camp, to the Monster Truck Pull, to the ball game — anywhere liberty-loving Americans might need to protect themselves from critical race theory, antifa, or annoying vegans.
When asked if he’d support a bill to ditch concealed carry licenses and let anyone pack heat anywhere any time, DeSantis said, “Of course.”
Local governments will be free from having any say over development, tree ordinances, infrastructure, little issues of that ilk. Businesses could sue a county or a city for loss of revenue if they claim having to operate on sustainable power or clean up polluted water hurts profits.
Speaking of polluted water, Florida may soon be free of manatees.
When they’re not being run down by idiots in speedboats, they’re starving to death.
Fertilizer-laced runoff from over-development, Big Ag, too many septic tanks, and the suburban addiction to Miracle-Gro fuel toxic algae that kills the sea grasses manatees eat.
DeSantis proclaimed, Three years ago, we promised bold action to safeguard Florida’s natural resources, improve water quality, and restore the Everglades.
He just hopes you don’t bother to look at his real environmental record, which could charitably be called pitiful.
Sure, the state appropriated money for the ’Glades, for a “study” of blue-green algae, and for a vague concept he calls “resilience.”
But the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Johns River, the River of Grass, Lake Okeechobee, and many others are still full of poison.
DeSantis still hasn’t done anything about runoff.
Nor will he or our other Republican overlords do anything about the climate crisis.
That might upset the road builders, the home builders, the wetland drainers, and Florida’s venal power companies.
They like to be free to rape and pillage what’s left of our beautiful land and water.
If a bill written by a Florida Power & Light lobbyist passes, solar energy could become so prohibitively expensive, most consumers will have to stick to dirty energy.
FPL will then be even freer to pay dark money operatives orchestrating spoiler “ghost candidates” to get Republicans elected, keeping the wheels greased until the whole state sinks into the sea.
The burden of science
Florida is certainly free from the burden of science.
If we want to huff horse de-wormer, ingest malaria drugs, or guzzle urine to cure our COVID while refusing to get a simple and effective vaccine because we read on some website that the gubmint and George Soros with his Jewish Space Lasers will somehow take over our brains, well, that’s our choice as Americans.
Declare yourself free from annoying doctors: Stop all that testing!
The governor opined that, pre-coronavirus, “We weren’t out testing, do I have the flu or do I have that. This is a new thing that’s been put in, so that’s not the posture how you should live your life, getting negative tests all the time.”
DeSantis might want to get tested for aphasia, but never mind that: If you let medical types check out your precious bodily fluids and poke around with stethoscopes and X-rays and blood pressure monitors, they might find all kinds of unseemly things.
Diabetes, say, or cancer or high cholesterol or hypertension or even the omicron variant.
As the former president pointed out, the more you test, the more cases you find.
Better to live free of such information.
As for education, the less we have of that, the freer we are — at least if we’re white.
Those sweet little Caucasian children will be free from learning that America got rich off enslaving other people and that Florida still suffers from institutional racism.
All students must be liberated from reading books that might make them feel bad (especially if they’re white and straight), question authority, or wonder if maybe George Washington wasn’t entirely a great guy.
This is an important step in saving us from dangerous political practices such as democracy.
To help us be free from voting, the governor and Legislature want to crack down on perverted practices such as “drop boxes,” “voting by mail,” and the insidious practice of “ballot harvesting,” when some sinister do-gooder helps a church or nursing home get their votes to the county supervisor of elections office.
In 2020, there was no fraud (except a handful of Republicans in the Villages), no long lines, no screwed-up machines.
And look what happened in that election.
Obviously, Florida needs to make it a damned sight harder to vote.
We also need to ensure that supervisors clean the voter rolls, that only citizens are registered to vote, and that mail ballots only go to those who actually request them before each individual election.
Of course, elected officials check voter rolls about once every six months, but maybe they should do it once a week.
In his pursuit of making Florida free for his presidential campaign videos, DeSantis is liberating us from reality itself.
Many Floridians are fine with that: We live in a state where the most famous resident is a talking mouse.
Others of us would prefer some facts with our politics.
As Timothy Snyder, Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University (our governor’s alma mater) says, “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”
Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books.
I do believe when polls are taken, Floridians approve of what our Governor has been doing. Personally speaking, I hope he decides to stay on as our Governor and not run for President, he is doing an excellent job here!!
I am continually amazed that folks are surprised that “Little *rump” is any different from his mentor. It is always about them and nothing else
I continue to hope that folks will come to their sense’s and educate themselves before they vote.
The Pillsbury Dough boy speaks and right to well the Right that has the lust affair with all that he and the orange stain say do and represent. At best an embarrassment IMO. Vote Accordingly. The facts do count….
“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Paul Simon/The Boxer
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah … all old news. And it ain’t gonna never get no better if y’all keep on re-electing the same brain dead politicians (although they ARE the appropriate ones to lead the brain-dead constituent populace). You get the government you vote in (or out if we’re lucky).
We got lucky in 2020 that enough people got tee’d off enough to get off their fat a$$$ and vote, and we managed to squeeze out a victory, but if it takes a disaster like Trump to get people out to vote, then we’re up the proverbial creek.
What disaster did Trump cause? Was it higher gas prices, higher food prices, higher inflation, empty shelves, border security, botch Afghanistan withdraw, shutting down the virus, not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations? Oh wait those are Joe Biden disasters. My Bad.
Rick G says
Simply put there are a long list of Trump disasters… The biggest was January 6,2021. End of story.
Free to make our own decisions, how terrible. If you get rid of people, the environmental problems will go away and then we don’t need to deal with all the other BS either.
The dude says
Michael Cocchiola says
Thanks for this article, FlaglerLive. It says about all there is to know about DeSantis. He simply disgusts me and hundreds of thousands of other Floridians. Yet, he is in the governor’s seat to rape and pillage in the name of rabid trumpism.
Someone on FlaglerLive said he’s “done so much for the state”. I would agree if you change the word “for” to “to” in that statement. And I’d love for that DeSantis fan to itemize what he has done that would excuse the abuses noted above.
John Stove says
This hits it on the head for Deathsantis and his fellow morons (Republicans)…how has it come to this? Trump has turned the party and their “leaders” into boot lickers who will do and say anything to keep not only in his good graces but more importantly tapped in to the base that got Trump elected.
We are on to you…..you may have fooled us once with Trump but with every passing day more information is coming out about the traitorous and unamerican events of January 6th and who was involved. Each passing day more Republican Senators and House Representatives are having their internal written conversations about this insurrection documented and shown to the public.
It cracks me up when Senator Graham or McCarthy are shown on older TV interviews saying the January 6th event was an “insurrection”, “Trump was at fault”, “Trump is to blame” and now they are all backpedaling because Trump is having a fit like a 2 year old. This is the party to lead America?…..riigghhtt
Deathsantis is a moron and an imbecile and will always be remembered as having no 0riginal policies or actions to actually help the citizens he governs. Republicans can scream and yell all they want about him being the “best governor of Florida”…..but the day is coming when Deathsantis will fade from memory into the scrap pile of “what were we thinking?!!”
Thank You Brandon!
John, I guess you are right and the rest of us are wrong. We should have elected Andrew Gillum for governor instead. Yeah, thats the guy the Miami police found naked with another naked male porn star, both over- dosed on drugs in a hotel room. And the drug was not Tylenol. Yeah he would have made a much better Governor.
Mary Fusco says
Desantis is a crowd pleaser. Brandon is out to lunch and has always been. Look at our local politicians. Most of them are also out to lunch and the other 2 or 3 think they are movie stars always in the camera. Why can’t we get qualified leaders on the national, state and local level instead of these fools?
He rigged it here somewhat now on voting vote him out people he does not care a bout working class and has done nothing sense in office #byeconron
Wow! Such a horrible state Florida is. I think everyone who believes this completely slanted rhetoric should use their freedoms to get the hell out of Florida and move to a more progressive and woke state like New York!
Heathen Lady says
Sorry, we can still live where we want: But since you like living under an authoritarian dictatorship, you might consider Russia or North Korea.
Why aren’t we hearing about Burnett Oil Co.’s oil exploration and possible production in Big Cypress National Preserve??????
Jim R says
Could not be more truthful. And yet the sheep will follow.
DeathSantis is another Trump all talk no action. DeathSantis has done nothing to improve the environment, or tackled the polluted rivers, nor does he care if people die from Covid 19.
All he cares about is himself and running for any position in government he can grab on to.
He is the reason many do not want him to be Governor let a lone President.
In school learning needs to be canceled immediately! Especially things like music and sports! Stay home people this is what it all has boiled down to! Don’t give up y I ur patriotism yet! STAY HOME STOPE THE SPREAD SAVE LIVES!
Steve good name for the want to be Trump Pillsbury Dough Boy…… the sight of him makes my stomach turn. Every time he gets in front of a camera you would think he is trying out for a movie in Hollywood since he acts like he is all that. As far as a actual Governor of Florida he stinks, he has nothing to offer the people or the State of Florida. It’s that selfish me me me syndrome. I hope it is a race between him and the Orange man lets watch the Soap Opera of two nothings attack each other because their both guilty of the same thing unqualified to hold any political office. The need to go work in a Golf shop at the on the Resorts the orange man owns.
T you are right, we need to vote DeSantis out of office. What did he do for the State of Fla. In my book nothing. Come Nov. he will not get my vote. I would like to think millions thi k the way I do. Please let us vote this man out of office. If he does run for Pres. I will not vote for him. We voted Trump out of office I know we can vote DeSantis out of office. The question is will we.? Please people let us vote DeSantis out of office
GREAT article! I wonder if many will get the references that Gov has NOT helped this state.
“Free-est” state to spread virus, have failing schools, teachers leaving left and right. If he and the rest of the”Free” thinkers can control a woman’s decision, are they ready to step up and adopt and care for the children?
Are the manatees,dying fish and other environmental issues being addressed….like how much Roundup is used on all our golf courses and winds up in water supply,ponds,rivers?
SMH…playing a serious game with childish attitudes. NOT what I want as a leader.
This man couldn’t even be qualified to run for dog catcher!!! Wake up and pray he moves on- like away from the state of Florida and definitely away from Washington DC.
Florida first says
Best governor ever!
Please don’t run for president!
We need you here!