Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Ron DeSantis Believes in Free Speech as Long as You Only Speak About the Awesomeness of Straight White People. (Vanity Fair)

The inanity of RONALD DION DeSANTIS and the wealthy Dull Republicans' Philistinism in Flori-DUH, skewered as part of their Idiocracy-like ideology. 

From Vanity Fair: 

Ron DeSantis Believes in Free Speech as Long as You Only Speak About the Awesomeness of Straight White People

The Florida governor’s decision to block an AP African studies course is just the latest example of his war on the expression of beliefs—and the teaching of facts!—that he doesn’t agree with. 

One of Florida governor Ron DeSantis‘s favorite little mottos is “Florida is where woke goes to die.” In fact, a better, more accurate motto would be “Ron DeSantis’s Florida is where free speech goes to die, unless you’ve agreed to the governor’s list of preapproved talking points, like that LGBTQ+ people don’t exist, white people are and have always been awesome, and nonwhite people have nothing to complain about.” Defenders of the governor will not like this tweak, as conservatives absolutely love to claim free speech is under attack from the left but, as the evidence shows, it’s true.

The most recent example of DeSantis’s war on free speech, which, of course, is inexplicably linked to his bigoted viewpoints, involves an AP African American studies course. Earlier this month, DeSantis sent a letter to the College Board, which is in charge of Advanced Placement classes, informing it that the the class is “contrary to Florida law” and “significantly lacks educational value.” He added: “Should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content” Florida’s Education Department would “be willing to reopen the discussion.” On Friday, Florida Education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. wrote on Twitter: “Florida rejected an AP course filled with Critical Race Theory and other obvious violations of Florida law.” (Not unsurprisingly NPR reports that this is false, and CRT is not included in the curriculum.)

On Monday, DeSantis got into more specifics, saying at a press conference: “We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline, if it’s education, then we will do…this course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids. And so when you look to see they have stuff on intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda and…that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards. We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them. When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”

Setting aside the fact that intersectionality is absolutely a part of Black history, DeSantis’s claim that he totally believes in “teaching kids facts” rings extremely hollow, and that’s because during a campaign debate last fall, he argued that students should not be told the US was “built on stolen land” because it’s “not true.”

Obviously, it is true, but DeSantis does not want Florida students to know because it paints white people in a less-than-positive light.

Which brings us to another example of DeSantis’s bigoted attempts to restrict free speech, i.e. his “Stop WOKE Act.” Signed into law by the governor last year, the law restricts conversations about race in schools and businesses and, per NBC News, “bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender.” The whole thing is a ridiculously obvious attempt to prevent real discussions about the role white people have played in the long history of systemic racism in America, and while DeSantis would like to pretend otherwise, a federal judge called him on his bullshit in November. In a 138-page order, chief US district judge Mark Walker blocked state officials from enforcing a key piece of the Stop WOKE Act, which he declared violates the First Amendment. Citing George Orwell’s 1984, Walker wrote that DeSantis and company seem to believe that “the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom’,” and zeroed in on the fact that the law specifically targets freedom of expression that DeSantis and his fellow Republicans simply don’t like. “The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints,” he wrote.

And, then, of course, there’s “Don’t Say Gay,” the positively dystopian law that the American Bar Association says “raises serious legal questions” (in addition to just being anti-LGBTQ+). It went into effect last year and prevents teachers in grades kindergarten through third from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in any way whatsoever, and bars instructors from doing so in a way that is not “age appropriate” in the grades above. (Naturally, the law does not specify what the state considers age appropriate, a vagueness that was surely intentional.) Earlier this month, a school district reportedly banned a sweet, uncontroversial—unless you are afraid your kid can catch being gay from a story—children’s book about two boy penguins who lovingly raised a baby penguin at the Central Park Zoo, determining that it violated Florida law.

In related news re: DeSantis’s war on free speech, last week a judge determined that he’d violated the First Amendment when he removed duly elected prosecutor Andrew Warren from office after Warren said he would not prosecute providers of abortion or gender-transition treatments, or those who undergo them, which obviously does not jive with the governor’s war on anyone who lives differently than him. (Unfortunately for Warren, he’s not getting his job back.)

While DeSantis inexplicably won his reelection bid by a huge margin, the rest of the country might want to familiarize themselves with his viewpoints within the next two years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are scared of others who try to take their divisive tools away from them. Conservatives call the attempts to do so "divisive." Over the last 60+ years they've used homosexuality, race, religion, and just about everything imaginable to differentiate "us and them." And they've done this at the expense of other people's feelings, other people's time, other people's money, and other people's identity. Now that they see signs that it's coming undone, they'll double down on all of it. Accuse the other side of that which they've been guilty of for decades, become more nasty and lie and scaremonger. Is this moral? Why not just go with the flow of a more inclusive and accepting society? Conservatives could actually profit from the ideology of inclusiveness and acceptance of others which is moral. They could appropriate these principles. But no, they use resistance to positive social change and acceptance as a political tool. Mind you, Republican leaders care very little about any of it and mainly care about upholding existing class structures and the interests of the rich. Most of their propaganda is just to obscure the fact that that's their only function.