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Ron DeSantis: A fascist for our time

He’s a one-man civil rights wrecking ball, determined to neutralize any group that doesn’t conform to his dangerously narrow view of social order.

Fas·cist [ˈfaSHəst]: Relating to a movement or individual focusing on “otherization” of minorities; a government ruled by a tyrant who controls the lives of the people in that society, and allows no dissent or disagreement.

He is not Donald Trump. He is not Trump-lite or Trump-extra. He is much closer in temperament to Joseph Stalin, another famous fascist. Yes, he’s Ron DeSantis, the despotic governor of Florida who is determined to stifle all ideas, behaviors, and institutions that he doesn’t particularly like. His accomplishments thus far, six years into his tenure as the chief executive of the Sunshine State are as follows:

  • Banned mask mandates in public schools at the height of the COVID pandemic, at a time when close to 70,000 Floridians had already died of the highly contagious virus and Florida led the country in children hospitalized with serious COVID-related illness.
  • Constructed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to address the “problem” of homosexual “grooming” of children, when in fact two-thirds of pedophiles are male heterosexuals. This leads one to wonder why there is no “Don’t Say Straight” bill.
  • Purged public libraries and school classrooms of books discussing the experiences of LGBTQ+ and Black people—the former because the good Governor believes that reading about the experiences of non-heteronormative populations will somehow turn children gay; the latter because learning about the historical suffering of Black Americans will hurt the self-esteem of White children and make them “feel bad.”
  • Engineered the firing of school teachers and administrators throughout the state who balked at his draconian interference with educational policies and practices.
  • Authored the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts how race is discussed in workplaces, schools, and colleges. He has now gone to war with the college board over the content of advance placement coursework in Black studies.
  • Attempted to require all female athletes in Florida to submit their menstrual histories in his zeal to root out transgendered individuals from high school and collegiate sports. When that proposal recently fizzled, he turned his attention to requiring colleges and universities to turn over the medical records of all trans students, in direct contravention of established HIPPA laws protecting the medical confidentiality of patients. Many of these institutions have already complied. I’d be tempted to imagine that all kinds of patient-rights lawsuits will soon be filed, but perhaps he has already outlawed the ACLU as well.
  • Has attempted to revoke the self-governance of Disney World because they stood in support of LGBTQ+ people. Evidently, they disobeyed him and said “gay” even though he told them not to. Governor DeSantis loathes dissent.
  • Created an Office of Election Crimes and Security in response to the nonproblem of voter fraud in Florida so he could arrest former felons, most of them poor and Black, for mistakenly thinking they could vote again after serving their time.
  • Signed bills to expand his authority to ship migrants out of the state to other “woker” locations throughout the northeast. So best not to say “migrant,” either. Odd, since he is descended from some of the poverty-stricken Italian immigrants who flooded Ellis Island in the early 1900s, seeking safe haven and more prosperous lives for their families—kind of like every wave of immigrants who have ever sought refuge and opportunity in America.

He’s a one-man civil rights wrecking ball, determined to neutralize any group that doesn’t conform to his dangerously narrow view of social order. He is a man without humor, without compassion, without empathy, and without the slightest interest in equality or inclusion. He actively seeks to destroy those who stand in opposition to his hateful, bigoted policies.

Ron DeSantis is also the presumed heir apparent to Donald Trump, at present polling well ahead of the former guy in a prospective mano-a-mano presidential contest. How any person can see him as a reasonable alternative to Trump is a mystery to me, and the idea of him exporting his vision for a straight, white, science-denying, refugee-hating America to the White House should be profoundly frightening to anyone preferring not to live in an Orwellian dystopia.

Surely there must be a reasonable electoral alternative to a hate-mongering fascist somewhere in the GOP.

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