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Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Florida GOP Taliban

 Florida has a recipe for disaster. Add one part gerrymandering, one part far-right dogma, and a heaping pile of intolerance and sexism to Florida, and we get a state where the zealots at the top impose their will on all those beneath them. The Taliban didn't become the Taliban overnight, they evolved into it, and if we open our eyes, we can see disturbing parallels in the GOP in Florida.

Richard Corcoran and Ron DeSantis pairing with the far-right Hillsdale College plans to rewrite our civics curriculum including a liberal amount of God and the Ten commandments while completely avoiding the issue of race. DeSantis says to anyone who will listen that kids are being taught to hate our country in our schools. Corcoran practically bragged how he rigged the book-buying process to eliminate crazy liberal stuff and how teachers have to be constantly replaced. Neither has considered that it is their ideas and actions which are driving people away from them.  

Speaking of actions, this past session saw an anti-trans bill that called for the inspecting of children's genitalia pass the house. Now the final bill wasn't quite as onerous, but at the end of the day, it was a solution without a problem designed to marginalize and attack an already marginalized group. Unfortunately, the GOP in Florida sent a loud and clear message to our LGBTQ community and that's they are second-class citizens who can be excluded from everyday life.  

Then look what has happened in St. Johns county as 80 girls at a high school had their yearbook photos altered because the powers that be determined they were too revealing. The thing is they weren't, but they, along with draconian dress code policies which only affect girls, show a real step backward for our state and the marginalization of females. 

Throw in annual attacks on public education, teachers, and their representatives and funneling billions into mostly religious schools without standards or accountability, and what else is there?

The most alarming thing is none of this would be going n if the GOP hadn't rigged the electoral game to assure their dominance. Trump beat Biden by a two-point margin in the last presidential election, yet our representation in the Florida legislature is 65-35 republican. Democratic voters are stacked and packed into a handful of districts while the republicans have picked their electorate. This has allowed them to push through a litany of solution without problem bills which in addition to attacking marginalized citizens, have also seen home rule and the first amendment in their crosshairs. They don't have to create bills that solve problems because the opposition, the democrats in Tallahassee are far and few between. 

In 2020 DeSantis won by 33k votes or a third of one percent. Has he governed like that? The answer is no, as he signed one far-right bill after another.  

Discrimination, intolerance, a zeal to rewrite the narrative, and a rigged political system, not with guns like the Taliban did but rigged nevertheless. This is Florida. 

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