Now that the GOP seems to have formally adopted culture wars as a replacement for their traditional opposition to racial and gender equality, we might want to go back and think about where the culture war strategy first appeared. And it should come as no surprise that the person who is promoting assaults on ‘woke’ culture more than anyone else, happens to be the Governor of the state where this stupid nonsense first appeared.
I’m referring, of course, to Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, whose attacks on Disney, Black History and other woke targets has become this schmuck’s daily attempt to compete with Trump on the alt-right media circuit and maybe get himself positioned for a successful national run in 2024.
In that regard, let’s take a brief trip down Memory Lane and recall the antics of a previous counter-cultural warrior named Anita Bryant who led a noisy, alt-right effort in 1977 to repeal a law in Dade County which basically gave gays, lesbians and transgender people equal rights.
Bryant’s effort fell short, and the law has been reauthorized several times. But what Bryant accomplished was to generate significant anti-gay sentiment on the part of conservatives, particularly Evangelical leaders who then became a fundamental support bloc for the GOP beginning with Reagan in 1980 and continuing right up to today.
This is the population which Ron DeSantis believes will now flock to his tent and walk away from Trump, and DeSantis is doing his best to promote himself as the leader of the anti-Woke movement because it’s not as if the GOP has any other issue right now. Yesterday I paid $2.95 for gasoline, okay?
The problem that DeSantis is having with his anti-Woke crusade, however, is that he’s being more carefully scrutinized by the national media and a lot of his anti-Wokeness adds up to nothing more than empty hot air.
DeSantis made a big deal out of Disney’s decision to challenge his law prohibiting discussions about sexual orientation in schools by saying he would revoke Disney’s special tax situation which was part of the deal that brought Disney to Orlando in the first place.
Result? Disney still has its special tax status which saves the company millions every year.
Remember what happened when DeSantis flew those immigrants from Texas up to Martha’s Vineyard? He got some plaudits from alt-right shock jocks, but everyone else decided that he behaved like a media-hungry jerk. And by the way, he may have violated Florida law by spending state money to transport people who weren’t residents of the state.
The best of all was DeSantis’ announcement that he was going to promote a bill that would allow Florida residents to carry a concealed weapon without any training at all. It then came out that he wouldn’t allow anyone carrying a gun to gain entrance to his post-election party in Tampa and tried to get Tamps city officials to lie and say that they had ordered the gun ban.
The bigger problem facing the anti-Woke campaign being conducted by DeSantis and other GOP Presidential hopefuls can best be understood by what happened to Anita Bryant back in 2021, when the media played up her refusal to attend her granddaughter’s wedding.
Why did Bryant decide to absent herself from such a blessed event? Because her granddaughter happens to be a very public lesbian and married another woman in a public ceremony attended by other family members and friends.
I would be pissed off at all this anti-Wokeness if I didn’t actually find most of this nonsense to be rather quaint. When someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Ron DeSantis says something about how the country needs to defend itself against Woke, it’s almost as if the last fifty years or so need to be repeated again.
The reason we have Woke is because this country is changing in ways that nobody could have predicted when Anita Bryant started ranting against homosexual culture nearly fifty years ago. And even if more than 15 states are now considering laws that will criminalize talking about gender identity in public schools, time doesn’t march backwards no matter what the GOP wants you to believe.