About once a month, you see a headline or hear about a story so absurd that it could only happen in one place – Florida. Well, here are a few more.
The worst state in the nation is in the thick of it again, as Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 233 on Tuesday, a law that requires students and faculty of public Florida universities to be surveyed about their political beliefs starting next month.
That means it’s open season on Black athletes in Florida who want to kneel or tweet about politics.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said during a news conference at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Myers, according to the Naples Daily News. “Unfortunately, now the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments.”
While DeSantis is trying to make it seem like he wants colleges and universities in Florida to be bastions of “intellectual freedom,” that’s not the case. According to the Naples Daily News, just last week, DeSantis’ Board of Education adopted new rules limiting the teaching of history, with a primary focus of banning critical race theory and limiting other race-related discussions from classrooms. DeSantis has been very public about his dislike of critical race theory. Florida is one of more than a dozen states that have, or are trying, to ban or limit the teachings of America’s foundation – slavery.
This is what the Miami Herald reported earlier this month:
The (critical race) theory is not taught in any Florida school districts, state officials acknowledge. Still, DeSantis is repeatedly injecting it into discussions about how teachers should deliver lessons on civics and history to more than 2 million public school students in Florida. Appearing on Fox News Saturday night, DeSantis said he would start getting involved in school board races to attack candidates who support the education approach.
“We are going to get the Florida political apparatus involved so we can make sure there’s not a single school board member who supports critical race theory,” DeSantis said.
But wait, there’s more.
As Pride month winds down, never forget that on June 1, DeSantis signed a bill into law that banned transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student-athletes born as girls.
“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports,” DeSantis said as he signed the bill into law at a private Christian academy in Jacksonville that would not be subject to the law, according to NPR. “We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality.”
For those keeping score, DeSantis has offended Black athletes, wants annual updates on the political ideologies of teenagers and young adults that are trying to figure out how life and politics work, and is against the LGBTQ community.
If you’re a Republican white cisgender college athlete in Florida, you’re in the clear.
Or… are you?
After being one of the leading states that were pushing for name, image, and likeness (NIL) legislation, DeSantis’ party has pulled a switcheroo on all the athletes – of different colors, sexes, races, creeds, and political affiliations – who were hoping to make money next month. Last spring, the state passed its NIL bill and DeSantis signed it into law last summer with July 1, 2021, as the start date. But now, things are on hold, as the GOP in Florida is trying to pull a bait-and-switch.
According to FloridaPolitics.com, last month, a GOP Senator introduced a last-minute amendment to delay the law until July 1, 2022, as the amendment was tacked onto the transgender athletics bill that DeSantis already signed. On Wednesday, a bill landed on DeSantis’ desk to change the date back to July 1, 2021.
Until he signs it, NIL doesn’t exist in Florida.
“The great thing about our country is that every two years, the people have that one day in November where the elites don’t call the shots, where they don’t get to craft the narrative, and where they don’t get to set the agenda,” DeSantis said the night he won Florida’s gubernatorial race in 2018. “On Election Day, it’s the voice of the people that rules.”
Look around, and you’ll see that the elites in Florida are calling the shots, creating the narratives, and setting the agendas, as people’s voices continue to be silenced. A native son of the 27th state has become the most powerful person in a place that has a long history of doing everything it can to suppress the rights of certain people. If you haven’t realized by now, Ron DeSantis has always been “Florida Man.”