Florida is turning its back on the New South, embracing its Dixie-fied past
Ron DeSantis' war on woke gets a legal smackdown.

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We’re whistling Dixie and marching backward into our future.

Florida was once a New South state.

From the early 1960s to 2000 or so, Florida had leaders who looked to the future, determined to leave Jim Crow behind and separate ourselves from the likes of Alabama. We had Governors committed to equal justice, open government, and voting rights — however imperfectly achieved.

No more. With the re-election of Ron DeSantis, and ultra-conservative victories in gerrymandered congressional districts across the state, Florida is sliding back into the mire of its Old South past.

Now, before y’all start yelping about how Florida isn’t really Southern, let me just remind you: Florida was third to secede in 1861, after South Carolina and Mississippi. North Florida was plantation country.

We can pretend that history doesn’t matter, but our justice system — much of it a relic of when white people were terrified that ex-slaves might wreak revenge on them — and laws like “Stand Your Ground” allow us to kill or incarcerate a disproportionate number of Black people. The way Florida’s ruling Republicans try to ban ideas they don’t like and encourage an absurd sense of white victimhood is more Mississippi than Minnesota.

You don’t have to like grits and sweet tea to behave like a member of the Pork Chop Gang.

As for DeSantis, he’s George Wallace with a Harvard Law degree and a talent for plausible deniability.

This isn’t a surprise. DeSantis didn’t really try very hard to disguise his racism when he ran for Governor in 2018. He’d appeared at White nationalist conferences alongside the likes of David Horowitz and Steve Bannon.

DeSantis insisted he didn’t know those guys were racists; I mean, come on: “How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement someone makes?

Perhaps someone could tell him about Google.

Freak flag

Over the past four years, DeSantis has let his racist freak flag fly. He appointed a person who apparently thought it was fun to dress up as a Klansman to the County Commission in majority-black Gadsden County.

He rejected the Legislature’s congressional district map, which would have elected four Black people to the House of Representatives, redrawing boundaries in a way that made the districts more white and more Republican.

His absurd Election Police did their best to scare voters a few weeks before the Midterms, arresting 20 people, 15 of whom are black, for fraud. They all had felony convictions, but the state of Florida — whose responsibility it is to maintain accurate rolls — sent them registration cards and gave them the strong impression it was legal for them to vote.

One of the cases has already been thrown out by an exasperated Miami judge. But the damage was done. Many perfectly legitimate voters said they wouldn’t go near a polling place in 2022.

It’s only going to get worse. In their quest to ensure right-wing wins, Republicans have invented yet another way to suppress the vote. If you’re one of the 150,000 Florida citizens on probation, you have to attest that “you are solely responsible for determining if you are legally able to register to vote and that you must solely determine if you are lawfully qualified to vote.”

This is hard to do, given that the state often has no idea if you’re eligible to vote. You have to hope the county supervisor’s office can help or maybe hire a lawyer. If you vote illicitly, even if the state issued you a voter registration card, you’re busted.

For DeSantis and his party, the fewer people voting the better. A day before the midterms, The Washington Post reported that in South Florida, elderly people or those without cars who used to depend on friends to deliver ballots to the elections supervisor’s office were out of luck. “Ballot harvesting” is now a third-degree felony that can get you up to five years in prison.

Earlier in the year, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, not fooled by nonsense about the danger to the “integrity” of our elections, struck down DeSantis’ attempts to stop people of color from voting. He pointed to Florida’s “grotesque history of racial discrimination,” citing the 1920 Ocoee Massacre when at least 30 Black people were killed by a White mob furious that “negroes” were trying to exercise the franchise.

Unfortunately for democracy in Florida, the Trump appointee-heavy U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned Judge Walker’s ruling.

‘Stop WOKE’

On Nov. 17, the same judge halted enforcement of the “Stop Woke Act,” an attack on academic freedom in schools and universities that would discourage honest discussion of Ocoee or the Tallahassee Bus Boycott or the astonishing number of lynchings in Florida, more per capita than any other state.

The judge quoted George Orwell, blasting DeSantis’ attempt to deny teachers free speech rights here in the “free” state of Florida. If they hear about systemic racism, White privilege, or read “The 1619 Project” or maybe novels by Toni Morrison or poetry by a gay person, well, something terrible will happen.

Their White feelings might get hurt.

Knowledge is scary to our Viktor Orbán-wannabe. Confederate states banned Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lest impressionable people decide slavery was wrong. Ron DeSantis tries to conceal public records that you, the citizens of Florida, have a right to see. His administration had to be dragged into court and forced to release information about how his minions conspired to trick legal Venezuelan asylum seekers in San Antonio onto planes to Massachusetts where they were abandoned and forced to depend on the kindness of strangers (which turned out to be considerable).

In 1861, Confederates felt certain God had made them for a special purpose: saving the White race. In 2022, a Midterm campaign ad disguised as divine revelation intoned that, “on the eighth day,” God created Ron DeSantis to crusade against wokery and vaccines and reproductive freedom and affirmative action, and, of course, the scourge of Drag Queen Story Hour.

Most of the United States rejected this hatefulness and embrace of ignorance by refusing to elect authoritarians, election deniers, and white nationalists. Not Florida. We’re whistling Dixie and marching backward into our future.

___

Diane Roberts reporting via Florida Phoenix.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix is a news and opinion outlet focused on government and political news coverage within the state of Florida.


21 comments

  • It's Complicated

    November 21, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Calling drivel would be generous. A lot more opinion than news.

  • Julia

    November 21, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Oh, goody. Florida Politics is reprinting Diane Roberts essays now, a case study of why the “Stop Woke” Act was needed. I wonder if she—a tenured professor at a publicly funded university–considers herself a state employee. If she should get sued for calling somebody a racist, I wonder if she claim immunity.

  • Tom

    November 21, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Disgraceful garbage, just a racist, the 5% haters. If they can’t get their way they call racism. . Despicable Robert’s fails to understand that sub. women, moms voted for Ron. Seniors, and Hispanics voted by large percentage of different descent. When you accomplish 60%, thats a landslide of significant achievement.

    America’s Gov is the future, offers the right stuff. It’s a Florida sunshine coalition.

    Suck it up you must, racist loser! 60%, read it and weep.

  • Tom

    November 21, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Disgraceful garbage, just a racist, the 5% haters. If they can’t get their way they call racism. . Despicable Robert’s fails to understand that sub. women, moms voted for Ron. Seniors, and Hispanics voted by large percentage of different descent. When you accomplish 60%, thats a landslide of significant achievement.

    America’s Gov is the future, offers the right stuff. It’s a Florida sunshine coalition.

    Suck it up you must, racist loser! 60%, read it and weep.

  • marylou

    November 21, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    One of my favorite Ron stories is when you see a Desanctimonious pep rally and Ron starts talking about how “Stop Woke” will protect white boys from feeling guilty or uncomfortable about their white and male privilege.Then you look out in the parking lot, and half the trucks have FK YOUR FEELINGS bumper stickers!

    • Tom

      November 26, 2022 at 7:44 am

      One of the most convincing, greatest political DeSantis stories of all time history is 60% landslide vs chameleon Dums party. U got your ass’s kicked Mary hootch, peter h, ocean, Palmer, corsin, Elliot, Frankie m, Frankie, Morton, Tjb, Nail, Ural mountain, fish wanda, mr . Haney and the rest of the 5% haters. 60% landslide of all times!
      For the ages.

      Mary hootch, Dem come to Florida to fall into political oblivion!

      Losers! Dem Dum Dems in political oblivion! Picking noses in legislature.
      Enjoy! LMAO

    • Tom

      November 26, 2022 at 7:44 am

      One of the most convincing, greatest political DeSantis stories of all time history is 60% landslide vs chameleon Dums party. U got your ass’s kicked Mary hootch, peter h, ocean, Palmer, corsin, Elliot, Frankie m, Frankie, Morton, Tjb, Nail, Ural mountain, fish wanda, mr . Haney and the rest of the 5% haters. 60% landslide of all times!
      For the ages.

      Mary hootch, Dem come to Florida to fall into political oblivion!

      Losers! Dem Dum Dems in political oblivion! Picking noses in legislature.
      Enjoy! LMAO

  • Paul Passarelli

    November 21, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    To this entire page of pablum & puke I say: “Good job Governor DeSantis!”

    Also please ignore the propagandist that goes by Florida Phoenix, he’s a Democratic Useful Idiot and appears to be proud to have been indoctrinated by the Left.

    • marylou

      November 22, 2022 at 12:57 pm

      Enjoy him now. Hope you’re OK with Nunez!?!

      I was going to ask your opinion on how MAGAs could hold such (seemingly) opposing beliefs: anti-woke no guilt/discomfort v fk your feelings. Normally, believing both at the same time should cause some degree of mental discomfort, right ? But then I started thinking—it really is *ALL* about themselves (yourself, too??) isn’t it??

      • Paul Passarelli

        November 22, 2022 at 2:01 pm

        NWtE = Not Worth the Effort

        • marylou

          November 22, 2022 at 2:41 pm

          CoW = Can’t or Won’t

  • Paul Passarelli

    November 22, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Definitely Won’t. You and your Fake Alias troll friends are not worth the effort to rebut. I’ve said it before so I’ll say it again, I don’t even believe that whoever is using the marylou alias is a female.

    I think there are three of you that pollute this site with your vitriol using countless fakes names. They don’t debate, they call us names, they resort to petty insults. They ignore the evidence, They resort to emotional attacks devoid of any objective merit.

    • marylou

      November 22, 2022 at 7:53 pm

      After conversing amongst myselves (all female), I/we agree that you’re sounding a little paranoid today. And you are doing just about everything that you are accusing me of! Be nice, Paul, or I’ll sic cassandra on you!
      But feel free to ignore, since I do enjoy having the last word.

      • Tom

        November 23, 2022 at 7:54 am

        Florida Dems are in Political oblivion Mary hootch, go host a pro abortion rally, all 3 of you.

        Your whining on Ron, guaranteed a 60% win. The Dems are in political oblivion. Lost for a decade.

        Woke us a joke, and as Gov says, in Florida it goes to die. AOC, Sanders green no deal!

        Wait til Ron wins WH. Lt Gov Nunez is quite capable and comes from Miami Dade, really strong unlike incompetent communist Hernandez Matz.

        Enjoy.

        • marylou

          November 24, 2022 at 2:51 pm

          It’s not going to happen, Tom! 60% isn’t the accomplishment that media celebrities keep raving about. They just want a Trump v Desantis war to the death.

          Frost, running on gun violence, got 60%; Marco received nearly 60%. Between Desantis’ ability to avoid answering questions and the very successful Republican attacks on Crist, it isn’t surprising that voters without a lot of time or interest voted for the guy who had the free publicity thanks to his stunts and pep rallies.

          But, Desantis won’t win nationally. As many have pointed out, if he signs a total (or even 6 week) abortion ban he’s not going to the WH. Desantis’ “WOKE” obsession, jokes about grooming, and plans for a gun carrying free-for-all are also unacceptable to the majority of American voters.*

          If the Dems can get organized in 2024 (especially18-29s), whoever is running may reach 60%; Desantis is that despised north of Florida’s state border.

          * But maybe Ron’s counting on a favorable Moore v Harper ruling!

          • Tom

            November 26, 2022 at 4:24 am

            Mary Hootch, you live in fantasyland.
            Totally clueless.

            Marco ran behind DeSantis, Frost is no comparison, a CD is no comparison to a state wide accomplishment of59.5%. How stupid, ignorant are you? You are truly mentally deficient.

            60% isn’t what media celebrities want? What? U fool , it’s the fact. The Gov race was a referendum on DeSantis. Who u mean? Joyless racist Reid? You are so extreme it’s dangerous. The wench!

            DeSantis anti woke is where the majority in America go to live. 60% landslide is unheard of. Do you realize how hard that is? That’s Dem voters, women, moms, all minorities, independent Dems, and non partisan voters. It’s the Florida sunshine coalition.

            Mary hootch you represent what’s wrong with the far left extremist Dem 5% haters. Frost, my ass.

            DeSantis dominates the political center right. He is already ahead of ex potus # 45.

            Go hold your pro abortion rally, just as long as your mom didn’t abort you. Pathetic, you hypocrite.

  • Paul Passarelli

    November 22, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Cassandra? Really? Do you even know the legend? Because I’m very familiar with it. She sees the future and tries to warn the people, but her curse is that no one believes her. It’s something that I’m more than accustomed to whenever I try to explain things tp Progressive-Socialists & lerfists.

  • Woody

    November 23, 2022 at 3:20 am

    I can’t stop laughing!

  • marylou

    November 24, 2022 at 1:19 am

    Yes, Paul, Cassandra seems an appropriate name. It is the situation. For me, the most frustrating is when it’s people I know personally.There’s only so many times that someone can be expected to NOT say “I tried to tell you!!” At least that’s what I’m hoping!

    By election night I was so tired of paying attention that I haven’t read anything beyond headlines since. No tv news either. But, I am back to talking to people, for now, anyway!

    • Tom

      November 26, 2022 at 7:58 am

      Mary hootch, so Mentally handicapped, total denial.
      60% isn’t really 60%. It’s cosmetic to you neophytes. Totally delusional.

      Go sit in the corner of the legislature and coordinate your do nothing agenda. 2/3 super majority.

      America’s Gov is the dominant force, total control of political landscape. Biden is 80, 82 in 24. Trump 76, 78 in 24. DeSantis is 44, 46 in 24. Call for a new generation of American, like Ron.
      Independents, soft Dems, moms, women and minorities support him.

      Accomplishments, Competence and success are the key to 24. DeSantis owns it. Enjoy.

    • Tom

      November 26, 2022 at 7:58 am

      Mary hootch, so Mentally handicapped, total denial.
      60% isn’t really 60%. It’s cosmetic to you neophytes. Totally delusional.

      Go sit in the corner of the legislature and coordinate your do nothing agenda. 2/3 super majority.

      America’s Gov is the dominant force, total control of political landscape. Biden is 80, 82 in 24. Trump 76, 78 in 24. DeSantis is 44, 46 in 24. Call for a new generation of American, like Ron.
      Independents, soft Dems, moms, women and minorities support him.

      Accomplishments, Competence and success are the key to 24. DeSantis owns it. Enjoy.

Comments are closed.


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