Florida bears the ‘sacred fire of liberty,’ Gov. DeSantis proclaims for second term

‘We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.’

Proclaiming that Florida carries the nation’s torch of freedom, Gov. Ron DeSantis implored the state during his inauguration address.

Before a crowd of more than 3,000 dignitaries and supporters to launch his second term Tuesday morning, the Republican Governor declared Florida as the land of liberty, freedom and sanity.

With the nation’s eyes on the 44-year-old rising Republican star, DeSantis drew a direct line from the Founding Fathers at Independence Hall through American history and declared that Florida has preserved that “sacred fire of liberty,” quoting President James Madison. DeSantis traced the fire from Independence Hall to Gettysburg, to Normandy, to the Lincoln Memorial and to the Berlin Wall.

“It is our responsibility in Florida to carry this torch. We do not hide from this responsibility. We welcome it,” DeSantis said. “We will be on our guard, we will stand firm in the faith, we will be courageous, we will be strong, and we thank God and are proud to be citizens of the great, free state of Florida.”

While the inaugural celebration took place in Tallahassee, its implications extend beyond the borders of the Sunshine State. The nation’s eyes will fixate on the Governor’s next moves as many Republicans look for an alternative presidential candidate to former President Donald Trump. Among the dignitaries on stage for the inauguration was former Gov. Jeb Bush.

DeSantis legitimized the line he traced to the Founding Fathers in another fashion. As Florida Chief Justice Carlos Muñoz administered the oath of office, First Lady Casey DeSantis held the bible on which the Governor swore his oath — an Aitken Bible. The book, loaned to DeSantis by conservative media host Glenn Beck, traces its origin to the American Revolution.

In a nod to the number of people who have moved to Florida since the start of the pandemic, DeSantis declared Florida as the land of liberty and sanity and the country’s most desired destination.

“When other states consigned the people’s freedom to the dustbin, Florida stood strongly as freedom’s linchpin,” DeSantis said. “When the world lost its mind, when common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue, Florida was a refuge of sanity, a citadel of freedom for our fellow Americans and even for people around the world.”

The Governor’s message also targeted “woke ideology,” a rallying cry for DeSantis that has captured the attention of conservatives.

“We reject this woke ideology,” DeSantis said. “We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.”

But while DeSantis called his vision for Florida a model for the nation, key Democrats in Florida rejected the Governor’s message. In a statement, House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell criticized DeSantis for focusing on “woke” ideas to distract from his record, which she said was riddled with failures.

“This is probably the first Florida Governor to give an inaugural speech not speaking to the people of our great state and the challenges we all face, but directed at GOP primary voters and billionaire donors,” Driskell said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at r[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • TJC

    January 3, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    Like ancient tribes that sacrificed human life to false gods to keep their crops growing, DeSantis dabbled in death and economics, a deal with the devil if ever there was one. In the claim of a false freedom, he sacrificed lives to stimulate the economy of Florida. In his deal with the devil, he surrendered Florida to the pandemic, making him responsible for a large part of the record number of deaths. And now he touts himself as a savior of freedom, and his followers love and cheer him on because they are still alive and the magic worked.

  • Vince Edwards

    January 3, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    The Governor, who refers to the Bill of Rights author Madison, should remember his Establishment Clause, intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.

  • SteveHC

    January 3, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    Oh yeah, this guy puts HIMSELF up there with George Washington & Abraham Lincoln. History books of the future will more likely either ignore him entirely or place him among the likes of Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Benito Mussolini (I’m just not quite sure yet precisely where he will fall). Given his continuing interest in straightforward centralized authoritarianism, denying women and members of the LGBTQ community their rights, and remaining silent in the face of neo-nazism, I’d say he’s made Florida into a place where freedom *dies* not thrives.

  • Elliott Offen

    January 3, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Right wing propaganda. Dope for the dopes… money for the rich. That’s all they got.

  • Andrew T. Linko

    January 7, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    82% increase in homeowners insurance premiums, without the ability to request the portion of those premiums used for political reasons denied, 51% increase in HOA fees as a result of thumb driven legislative actions, SB6, I don’t know how many Floridians who can read, write and do a budget can afford these Freedumbs!

Comments are closed.


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