A friend of mine who used to be the garden editor at the newspaper where I worked posted a nasty cartoon about Governor Ron DeSantis on Facebook the other day. It showed a little girl being led away by four burly men – one the governor and the other three with GOP armbands. The little girl is saying “…but I don’t wanna be protected from black history.”
Response was swift from people who hate Florida’s popular governor for a myriad of reasons; all connected to their fear that he might be the next Republican candidate for president – and a possible winner.
A commenter I am calling Miss L., also a plant aficionado, had this to say: “Florida’s little Nazi of a governor is busy convincing the gullible he’s protecting their freedom—WHILE HE WORKS TO DESTROY IT. Florida, where truth and freedom go to die.”
I bit my tongue and moved on to the next Facebook posting. But it’s been bugging me, so I returned to it today.
Miss L.’s Facebook page includes a photo of a palm tree but no real reference to where she lives. I’m guessing it’s not our beloved state where many of us think our governor is doing a fine job. Sorry to burst your balloon, Miss L. We aren’t perfect, but truth and freedom are flourishing in Florida.
To help you understand, Florida’s academic standards specifically require teaching “the history of African peoples,” including “the passage to America,” “the enslavement experience” and “how the individual freedoms of persons have been infringed by slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation and racial discrimination.”
What Florida law proscribes (or forbids by law), however, is any curriculum designed to “indoctrinate” students into thinking any person “is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex” or that any person “by virtue of his or her race or sex” bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
In unflowery terms, it appears that Florida’s position is that many blacks have suffered mightily in the past during a sad time in our country’s history and that racism exists today in many forms. You should know about it, learn from it and be watchful, but no one can tell you that it is your fault … especially when you’re a child.
It’s easy to cast aspersions on someone when you don’t know or can’t be bothered to find out the facts. Social media is full of critical rants like the one from Miss L. But you never hear people like her talking about how the governor swung into action after Hurricane Ian to get things done – for example, completing emergency repairs to the Sanibel Island causeway in 15 days and a week ahead of schedule.
Or about the article I saw today in the Herald-Tribune about how Florida has 84 full-time employees per 10,000 population, compared to the national average of 208. The article said that Florida continues to have the smallest state government workforce per capita among the 50 states and continues to get a better bargain from its 166,609 office workers, park rangers, public health workers and college professors than other states do.
Sounds like the people in charge know something about productivity and being frugal with tax dollars.
Perhaps Miss L. doesn’t care about those things because her goal is to make a potential presidential candidate look like a bad guy.
I have more positive things to say about Florida’s governor. I’m sure, given the state of disinformation on social media today, there will be plenty of opportunities to share them in the future.