By Diane Roberts
And just like that, it’s 1861.
Gov. Ron DeSantis likes to call this the “Free State of Florida.” If he hasn’t yet wrapped himself in the Tenth Amendment or threatened secession, it’s only because he’s been too busy playing soldiers, organizing his private battalion, rewriting the past, and trying to destroy democracy.
Give him time. You have to lay some groundwork if you want to be the next Jefferson Davis.
Step one: that little militia. Yes, other states also have them. Other states, however, do not have a governor who acts like Victor Orban with a bad case of acid reflux.
DeSantis announced his new Praetorians flanked by sofa-sized gents in camo in front of a sign that read “Let Us Alone.”
(Note: that “Let Us Alone” thing does not apply to the $9 billion from the feds now plumping up Florida’s budget).
The governor probably likes the historical precedent of gubernatorial troopers. Three days before Florida officially left the Union, and three months before Fort Sumter kicked off the party in earnest, a local militia took St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos from the feds.
Those boys answered to Gov. Madison Perry, not Washington, and certainly not that dangerous radical Abraham Lincoln who’d been elected in 1860.
Wonder what the Brigata DeSantis uniform will look like? Brown shirts? Helmets with kevlar Mickey Mouse ears?
Maybe the Brigata DeSantis will help enforce the governor’s determination to silence public school teachers who might sully the ears of precious white children with the dreaded Critical Race Theory.
Not that DeSantis would recognize Critical Race Theory if it knocked him upside the head.
Not that any public K-12 school in Florida teaches Critical Race Theory: It’s law school-level stuff, a means of exploring how race has shaped our legal, governmental, and social systems beginning with enslaving Africans and continuing through Jim Crow, criminal justice, school funding, redlining, and a whole slew of other demonstrably discriminatory practices feeding white supremacy throughout American history.
Certainly, this might be a bit much for 5th grade social studies — which is why you won’t find it there.
But why let reality get in the way of demagoguery? DeSantis’ gauchely named new Fox-bait proposal, Stop WOKE (“Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees”) Act, will allow parents to sue schools if “pernicious ideologies” show up in the classroom.
He seems to think that examining the reality of historical racism will “scapegoat someone based on their race” and make people see themselves as “inherently racist, to say that they are an oppressor, or oppressed, or any of that, and that’s good and that’s important.”
His point, if you can pick though the word salad, is that you can’t go hurting white people’s feelings talking about racism, never mind that people of color experience racism every day.
DeSantis must long for those good old antebellum days when Southern states banned expressing disapproval of slavery and made disseminating abolitionist literature a felony.
White folks knew how to run a white folks’ country back then: A piece in the Richmond Enquirer from 1856 exhorts schools to make sure children learn that slavery “is the common, natural, rightful, and normal state of society.”
DeSantis’ updated version insists children learn that America is an exceptional nation founded on “universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence” — “universal principles” that included slavery.
According to this spurious understanding of history, only individuals can be racist, not systems, not institutions.
The white men who have run the country since 1619 learned one really important thing during Reconstruction: Certain people have no business voting. They don’t do it right.
To that end, the governor’s new elections-crime office will help curb excessive democracy.
The plan is to hire 45 investigators to look into all those elections infractions that are not actually happening, unless you count the Republican woman in Lake County who falsified voter registration forms changing party affiliations from Democrats to Republicans, or those three Trumpers in the Villages who voted twice.
And how about those Republican-funded “ghost candidates” who stole elections from Democratic candidates?
But that’s not what DeSantis means by election crimes; he means “ballot harvesting,” taking your grandmama’s ballot along with the ballots of several of her friends and depositing them at the supervisor’s office.
He’d like the Legislature to make that a felony. He’s already signed the law that restricts the use of drop boxes and absentee voting.
We breathlessly await literacy tests and poll taxes.
Here, in the “Free State of Florida,” DeSantis is happy to take federal money while preaching distrust of the federal government, rather like the way South Carolina’s Sen. John C. Calhoun declared that states could ignore any federal law they deemed “unconstitutional” in 1832.
No doubt the Great Nullifier would agree that 62,000 Florida dead of COVID is a small price to pay for DeSantis’s heroic defiance of Washington on vaccines and masking.
DeSantis seems to think Florida should only tangentially belong to the United States.
The “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” says a state can choose to be “separate and independent” with “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”
That was Dec. 20, 1860. We all know what happened next.
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.
Just state the facts Republicans are great at creating wedge issues to scare their base. It could be abortion, immigration, they’re taking away all our guns, or you name it. CRT right now is a hot button issue. Then while their base is all upset they slide more tax breaks to the rich under the table. And they get away with it. DeSantis is following the same playbook that republicans have followed for at least a generation.
Welfare Red Taker State Florida receives $4.65 back from Washington for every $1 it’s citizens pay in federal tax.
Time to put these welfare red taker states and counties on a Blue Light special layaway plan. Give them a set time to pull themselves up by the bootstraps or they can start looking for a new Sugar Daddy
b martin says
your $4.65 to $1 fed tax money is way inflated. You need to look at that again. as far as “red taker states” you should know that when the US government send out social security, medicare and USG pensions checks it is not counted on the state taht collected that money but where the recipient lives. So for the great states such as say MI, NY, NJ, IL and Conn where residents are bailing faster than new incoming people this is why. maybe you can comprehend and head back north to help from FL having a “blue light special” enjoy the trip back home
Let us vote him out of office. Let us vote all Repubs out of office.
dan beasley says
you really want to destroy this great nation don’t you. One party will do just that and its Dems not repubs.
Results with politics says
Political parties are what is killing this country. Look around the world and see what other countries are doing for their people. Make America great again. Ha, ha! We were never great to begin with. As long as the rich rule, the poor and middle class will suffer. Where’s our free healthcare, education and jobs? We are the joke most told by other countries.
Doing comedy now?
Deborah Coffey says
Excellent! And, there’s this: “No doubt the Great Nullifier would agree that 62,000 Florida dead of COVID….” This 62,000+ dead seems to have remained the same for weeks. Has the great DeSantis also forbid reporting?
I’d rather live free as an American should instead of in a communist State like NY. You don’t like his governing, then move out of the State of Florida, it’s that simple.
Great post! Free country (Not so much anymore) free state.
Don’t like our Florida policies. Swap places with some New Yorkers.
Bill C says
John C. Calhoun was picked by Andrew Jackson to serve as his Vice President. Trump had Jackson’s portrait, his hero, hung prominently behind his desk in the Oval Office. What else do you need to know about his mindset?
Bill C says
ps You could call Calhoun and Jackson the Founding Fathers of Trumpism to whom DeSantis pledges allegiance.
florida citizen says
I think we are incredible lucky to have someone like Governor DeSantis allowing his hard working state of Florida citizens be free from Biden mandates. I can’t believe people want to complain about that. I can’t believe all the crying in this article. Grow up stop complaining. I don’t recall so much crying prior to the covid outbreak. Now everybody seems to be complaining and blaming everyone else for their own downfalls in life. Just because Biden and his historically bad vice president want to blame everyone else for their failures, and really bad decision making doesn’t mean we as a society should be following that blame the other guy lead in life. Stand up take ownership, be a good role model in life, and do good things. Stop crying
Odd but not surprising that we didn’t read this from you when trump was blaming everybody for everything.
Give us a break!
Deborah Coffey says
Well, that’s what I say. “Stand up take ownership, be a good role model in life, and do good things. Stop crying” So, in my mind, that means no unvaccinated person should ever go to a hospital with Covid. Stay home, take care of yourself with whatever “cure” you’ve been told works. Stop crying about books in schools and public libraries if you really believe ALL people should take ownership and do good things and be good role models for those that struggle as they do. “Grow up stop complaining.” And, for heaven’s sake, feel free to kill other people with Covid, running around town without a mask because those awful mandates are just so unconstitutional. And, tomorrow, turn your White kid’s teacher in for making him feel guilty about truth. Don’t forget to collect your unemployment check from Ron DeSantis; you absolutely deserve it because your employer fired you for not being vaccinated. “Stand up and take ownership!”
Florida Citizen, the Dry Cleaners called, your white robe and pointed hat are ready for pickup!
Timothy Patrick Welch says
The white robed vigilantes of the past seem to have similarities with the masked thugs of today.
They were and are democrats.
Michael Cocchiola says
DeSantis, in his quest to out-crazy Trump, is de facto seceding from the union. Florida is no longer part of America. It is, like Texas, a rebel entity with its own version of the law, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bible. And the crazies on the right are happy with this non-state of affairs as long as their Social Security checks keep coming and they keep their Medicare, Medicaid, military retirement and anything they can get from the federal government they so hate.
Yes, America, there are deplorables and they’re coming after you.
Mike Pikiel says
This Liberal rag is a disgrace! If those who don’t like Governor DeSantis has done for this state, them move to California, New Yrok, Massachusetts or some other Socialist State.
I do not see where the community owns NY, CA or MA. Stop with the socialism because you have not idea what you are talking about. If you do not like this rag then stay off their page too.
Move out?? Hell, I moved here with the hope I could help the gene pool.
I agree. Don’t like all the great things that our Governor has done there are the above states you’ll be much happier.
Welll…after all it’s Florida, the state that decided to finally outlaw bestiality just a few years ago….possibly disappointing lots of folks with such a progressive move.
Edith Campins says
DeathSantis is nothing more than a trump wannabe. His every action is designed to pander to the trump cult followers. He cares nothing about the citizens of Florida. He needs to be voted out of office. I challenge his followers to name anything good he has actually accomplished while in office.
I too am curious to see if you will get a response.
Pierre Tristam says
DeSantis brings out the North Koreanophiles on whom he depends so much.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Pierre U should be suspended for that Anti American post!
Pierre Tristam says
Dennis, all suspensions are suspended until the new year.
Charlie Ericksen Jr says
Isn’t it amazing that college professors and newspaper folks, are the ones creating havoc and negative guidance, from some what protected positions.. Most have never had to work to a standard, other than their own .. and their opinions.. Just love to criticize .. No suggestions for the better ….Many never having to meet performance standards
What we are teaching our college students today ,with cripple us, in later years.. even further
DeSantis for President..
Pissed in PC says
DeSantis for the dump. He believes in being a mini Castro, his press secretary came from reporting Putin’s great nation. Blinded by your orange gods love for North Korea then just move there. Do us a favor so we can clean up DeSantis mess.
Amazing how so many love DeathSantis and don’t care how many innocent die in Florida and hate Democratic Presidents but love the money they get from them, they don’t complain about that.
The DeathSantis lovers also admire how he discriminates against everyone that isn’t white. We get it.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
States have the authority and responsibility to administer elections.
So, what is so wrong with auditing the process from time-to-time to verify election integrity?
When some of the electorate suspect breakdowns in the process, the state is compelled to investigate.
The commenter, as is so often the case with him, is misinformed. Elections are audited, by law, routinely. County elections supervisor are required to conduct those audits. Our local audits have been near-perfect. There is nothing that the state can do, other than muck up a flawless process, to improve it.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Is your concern with the cost to implement or the possibility of actually improving the process.
Please, all of you who are such passionate DeSantis supporters. . . please provide “credentialed” detailed information on what exactly that man has done for “ALL” of us?
DeSantis is personally responsible for Florida currently being #3 in the country for the number of new Covid cases. . . He has failed to protect us!
Remember just how terrible it was in August:
Dr. Jonathan Reiner of the George Washington University School of Medicine said that if Florida were a foreign country, the federal government would consider banning travel to it.
“The viral load in Florida is so high right now, there are really only two places on the planet where it’s higher,” Reiner said. (Those two places: Botswana and Louisiana.)
In a memo arguing that DeSantis “is the nation’s worst Covid governor,” Josh Kovensky details how DeSantis enabled the ongoing Covid surge with his two-front war on mask mandates and vaccine mandates:
As all of this preventable carnage began, DeSantis shrugged it off with a series of orders that, epidemiologists say, poured gasoline on the already more contagious Delta variant. He has made national news this year by banning two mandates that public health officials have said are needed to keep hospitalizations down: vaccine and indoor mask requirements. The Florida government has prohibited businesses and government agencies from requiring vaccines, and has forbid schools from instituting mask requirements.
Notably, DeSantis’s vaccine mandate prohibition includes cruise ships — a policy MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has characterized as the “single most deranged Covid policy we’ve seen.” But a federal judge earlier this week ruled that Florida can’t bar cruise companies from requiring proof of vaccination.
Likewise, DeSantis’s mask mandates ban is being challenged in court by parents and ignored by at least one school board. DeSantis has responded by saying the Florida Board of Education might withhold paychecks from board members and administrators who enforce mask mandates.
I could certainly provide much more evidence of his failures. BUT. . . let’s all see the credible FACTS regarding his successes. Precisely how has the man made our lives BETTER?
St Nick says
using MSNBC as a source is laughable at best. FLA population is # 3 in the US so what makes you think that they should be anywhere different? second point is I don’t need a gov to protect me — I can fend for myself and do what I think is best. If you need handholding, please travel north several hours but I suggest you bring a form of personal protection since the defund the police isn’t working out. If you don’t roll north for covid shelter, please stay at home ant leave the rest of us live our lives as we wish. and yes I’m vaccinated X 3!
Sherry- Bravo! I have a question for all these passionate DeSantis lovers. Rumor has it he’s been MIA going on 2 weeks now. He’s usually jetting all over the state spewing his BS. Where is he??? 🤔
The article is spot on
To all of the toadies who suggest that everyone should move north if we disagree with Deathsantis’s policies and politics or with your particular political affiliation (not difficult to ascertain): Who are you to decide where people live? Did someone die and put you in charge? I think not. Catch a clue: there are TWO political parties in this country. That applies to Florida also.
Secondly, Deathsantis has shown a concerted effort to ignore all reason and logic and is purposely pandering to what he considers Trump’s base. Add this all up, he is obviously posing himself to be a presidential candidate in the near future. He is betting on the Republican party will be carried into office by the lunatic fringe in 2024. Well, time will only tell. But do not be fooled. This guy has an ultimate plan. In the meantime, he is more than happy to take the federal pandemic money, only to refuse to distribute it to the agencies, schools, etc. that were meant to receive it and of course is funneling it into his “priority projects”. Meanwhile, he is allowing people to be evicted and move into homelessness, money designated for SNAP benefits was refused, and not to mention environmental project monies were diverted. I would love to see an analysis of all of the Federal money received and where it actually was spent. (hint for a future article).
BTW. . . my ancestors came to Florida in the 1700’s. I was born and raised here. I see DeSantis as a complete and utter FAILURE with blood on his hands from “preventable” Covid deaths. If you don’t like my speaking out against DeSantis and his bullying culture of lies and conspiracy theories, white supremacy, and fear and hate, perhaps it is you who should find a different place to live. Better yet, come back to “factual reality”!
“Don’t De Santis MY Florida”!!!
Way to generalize and discriminate, Charlie! The “professional” journalists . . . yes, those in the mainstream media. . . all work to very high standards. And, College Professors. . . now you are advocating that we get rid of the thinkers among us, the intelligentsia? And do what, work in lock step to some sort of standard that who prescribes? “YOU”? Or Dictator DeSantis? Do you even realize just how completely “FACIST” that sounds?
So glad I never voted for you!
“The “professional” journalists . . . yes, those in the mainstream media. . . all work to very high standards. ”
This should be the “Daily Cartoon” !
This is exactly what I was saying earlier. Politics is ruining this country. Stop the bickering and grow up. Find solutions! Our forefathers are rolling around in their graves, distraught on what this country has become. We will never get anywhere trashing each other, but fustrated.
Oh. . . and Charlie, regarding the none too subtle personal swipe you took at Pierre and his amazing work exposing people like you on Flaglerlive. . . “You” will never, in your wildest dreams, measure up to Pierre’s level of intelligence, education, ethics, integrity and honesty!
It is Pierre who actually sets the high “standard” you speak of in our community. Charlie, you and your corrupt “old white boys” club are found sorely lacking in this new century. Since you obviously do not like the open minded, fact driven, political perspective of Flaglerlive, please feel free to take a swan dive back into the lies and conspiracy theories of FOX/Facebook (Meta LOL!)/OANN, etc . We really won’t miss you one little bit.
Happy New Year ALL! Stay Safe and Well!
Let’s “think” this through, honestly.
“Professional” journalists, in the mainstream media, are held to “industry standards” and “company policy”. They are incessantly “fact checked”, under a microscope, by their editors, and by the public, each and every minute of the day. Sure, they are humans and they make honest mistakes. . . for which retractions are often published.
Now. . . compare this to the “garbage gossip” published on passionately beloved Facebook. Where absolutely NO ONE even pretends to do any fact checking. Yet millions of the mindless are quite willing to forgo getting vaccinated simply because they read something on social media.
For another example of ZERO ethical standards, here’s just one rabid tidbit from FOX, as reported by the Guardian:
The extremist rhetoric from right wing news networks and some elected Republicans is “intensifying”, experts have warned, after a Republican congressman compared Democrats to Nazis and a hard-right news host suggested tens of thousands of Americans should be executed.
Right wing TV personalities, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, and Republican politicians have seized every opportunity to rail against Democrats and liberals in recent months, with race increasingly coming to the fore.
On his Fox News show on 24 June, Carlson, seated in front of a screen blaring the words “anti-white mania”, raged that the US could “become Rwanda”, apparently referencing the 1994 genocide in the country, when hundreds of thousands of Tutsi people were slaughtered.
Sarcasm: FOX devotees must be so proud! Now, that’s “news” we can believe in! What a way to bring Americans together!
So you are mad because a Black Woman has power over you. I think they are doing a real good job. Talk about blaming Trump blamed everybody for his failures. You might need to read your history on this loud mouth lier. White men are loosing their demonic control on society.