Joe Henderson: Ron DeSantis could have picked a better day to rail about ‘woke’
Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida lawmakers won't cave to the "aggressive, woke, ideological left."

DeSantis Everglades
Fighting racial injustice is a moral imperative and not some radical idea.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Monday that no way, no how, will Florida cave to what he called the “aggressive, woke, ideological left.”

Aggressive, woke, ideological left. Wow, that sounds bad. Is there a vaccine against that?

I’d love to know the exact moment Republicans thought, “If we say woke ten times every day, people will think we’re hip, we’re happening.” It should be declared a national day of mourning.

But woke in today’s usage carries a serious connotation. It means someone is alert to injustice wherever it happens, especially racism. It means they’re ready to use their First Amendment right to free speech.

And Governor, you probably could have picked a better day to rail against those who stand for civil rights.

In Virginia, officials fired the police officer who recklessly escalated a minor traffic stop with Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino and a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

And in Minneapolis, protestors took to the streets after a police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man. Officials later said the officer thought she was reaching for her Taser and fired the gun by mistake. The victim, Daunte Wright, was stopped for driving with expired tags.

Oh, and the Derek Chauvin trial grinds on over his role (err, knee) in the death of George Floyd, reminding everyone how woke — in the new sense — became a thing.

By the way, last week, the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that officers can protect their identity after the use of fatal force.

Imagine if Chauvin had that protection.

To suggest lawmakers’ actions should be immune from outside pressure is, of course, absurd. Ask just about any Republican about the influence NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer wields. She can end political careers with the click of a computer mouse, and she is more than willing to do it if that person doesn’t kiss her ring.

Anyway, you may have heard that Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in retaliation for Georgia’s new voter suppression law. The move cost the state an estimated $100 million, prompting Mitch McConnell’s outcry that corporations should stay out of politics.

McConnell backed off that stance, possibly after realizing corporations essentially own politics now, and that includes him. They give money and expect lawmakers to do what they say.

Florida Republicans may soon send DeSantis a bill similar to Georgia’s because, you know, the only secure election is the one they win.

Can’t you hear it now?

Hey! You! Put down that Dasani bottle and walk away with YOUR HANDS UP!

How does any sane person think up crap like turning a bottle of water into a crime?

If Florida indeed plays copycat with Georgia, the corporate backlash could be intense. It was fine when major companies like Disney and Geico wrote checks for GOP candidates, right? But if they have a crisis of conscience — if they’re, yeah, woke to what’s really happening — well, stay in your lane, folks.

Governor, fighting racial injustice is a moral imperative and not some radical idea. If it takes pressure to make a change, well, so be it. Besides, money seems to be the only thing most lawmakers understand these days.

If lawmakers pass oppressive rules to disenfranchise others who may not vote for them, there should be a price to pay.

But DeSantis doesn’t see it that way.

“Our process is governed by people that get elected and that are trying their best,” he said. “It is not to be represented and governed by large corporations, and so that is not going to be the policy in Florida.”

By the way, those corporations weren’t governing. They were taking a stand against racism, and as you may know, corporations are people.

And people have a right to be heard.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Charles

    April 12, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    Wow. You’re quite the liberal troll. I find people like you so very repulsive and disgusting. You bias appears to have no limits.

    • tom palmer

      April 12, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      You’re mistaken. Corporate interests have ruled Tallahassee and Washington forever. Now that they’re realizing the world is changing and they’re becoming more politically responsible–at least for now–we hear whining from those who had no problems with the previous arrangement.

Comments are closed.


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