Florida isn’t Twitter, as much as Governor DeSantis wishes

Ron DeSantis at a press conference at FIU in June 2020. Photo via FIU Flickr.

PantherNOW Editorial Board

It’s official. Gov. Ron DeSantis is running for president, to no one’s surprise, unveiling the campaign through a “groundbreaking” Twitter stream that became nothing more than a laughably glitchy mess.

Yet, there couldn’t be a more perfect representation to capture DeSantis’s second term, an incumbency defined by the governor’s need to legitimize conservative internet politics.  

We’re sorry governor. “Woke” ideology is not “an existential threat to society,” even former president Trump, for all of his hate towards anything deemed “woke,” wouldn’t go so far, to DeSantis’s chagrin.

If there were to be an existential threat to society, DeSantis is part of it, and in Florida, he is the existential threat, as he continues to attack the disenfranchised communities that have become the political boogeyman of online conservative spaces. 

Take for example DeSantis’ recent signing and support for legislation banning trans people from using the bathroom of their choice to “protect women.” 

It’s funny how tunes change, as back during his 2018 primary campaign, DeSantis made it a point to sidestep the issue, going so far as to say, “Getting into bathroom wars, I don’t think that’s a good use of our time” during a forum hosted by Florida Family Policy Council, a right-wing Christian organization. 

This is all without mentioning that studies have shown these bills do nothing to protect women and children and only serve to further marginalize our already villainized trans citizens.

But this is the DeSantis playbook, push for legislation surrounding current conservative talking points, regardless of their veracity or potential impact on Florida or its constituents, sign it and laud it as the next step for America.

Why else would DeSantis sign Senate Bill 266, a massive restructuring of higher education, all the while Florida ranks first in higher education for the seventh year in a row?

Because it sells. It allows him to snatch the national spotlight and say, “Look at what I did,” all the while ignoring the incoming if not already occurring statewide brain drain of University faculty and students.   

There doesn’t have to be a rhyme or reason to the legislation, so long as it makes headlines. 

Just look at how DeSantis positions himself as a champion of “parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children.” All the while criminalizing gender-affirming care for minors as child abuse and threatening to strip custody for parents supportive of their child’s gender identity. 

But that doesn’t matter, it’s all about the national image. 

It’s not a coincidence that in the same year that nearly all this legislation was drafted, signed and passed, the Republican-led Florida Congress chose to pass legislature amending Florida’s resign to run law, allowing DeSantis to retain his governorship all the while running for president.

DeSantis is turning our education into a laughingstock. He’s actively vilifying and attacking our fellow Floridians for nothing more than just existing. 

Not just for us students, but Floridians deserve a better; legitimate education, basic human rights and elected officials who will represent all of us.

He may have power, but if the recent waves of student/faculty protests have taught us anything, we can’t let him forget our own power as citizens. 

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