Wednesday, February 22, 2023

FL: DeSantis Clamps Down On Ideological Impurity, Targets More School Board Members

Ron "No Choice But My Choice" DeSantis is continuing his purge of school board members that dare to disrupt his plans for a state bound together in ideological purity. It worked the last election cycle, so he's ready to go after another batch.

It's most fitting that the next set of targets was announced (by name and their thoughtcrime against Dear Leader) in the Florida Standard, the recently launched media voice of the DeSantis regime. After all, you can't maintain your narrative if you have to keep talking to those impure mainstream news outlets that keep relying on facts or who allow the ideologically impure to speak. 

So Florida gets the Florida Standard, the outlet that has no apparent purpose except to amplify the voices of DeSantis and his allies. 

The FS lists each of the fourteen board members who now find themselves in Dear Leader's crosshairs. Their crimes frequently include being supporters of masking and things like "showcased her disdain for parental rights on MSNBC" (I think that's a double penalty) and being "the Left's operators in Hillsborough County" and, gasp, "lifelong Democrats." 

DeSantis whipped this up with help from some loyal attendants. Notes FS

Alongside House Speaker Paul Renner and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, the governor met with Moms for Liberty co-founders Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice to strategize for the 2024 school board election.

I can remember when Moms for Liberty at least sort of pretended to be non-partisan, but now they are fully maskless, simply a political tool to help launch DeSantis toward the White House.

Meanwhile, in the Legislature, supporters of the newest expansion of Florida's dismantling-via-voucher of public education were asked what should have been a simple question. Based on the discovery in Ohio of an extensive network of neo-Nazi (actually, I think we could call them actual Nazis) home schoolers, the question was raised--will Florida be sending taxpayer dollars, via vouchers, to support neo-Nazi homeschoolers?

This should not be a hard question-- will we allow taxpayer dollars to go to support Nazis? And yet...

"Um, we need to put our heads together for a second for that stumper, before we offer that somebody will probably talk about that some day probably and then they'll decide something." Dammit, guys--the correct answer is "No."

So, yeah. A state that has declared books banned until cleared by its reading commissars  and has banned books for having the wring ideas in them (and don't say so to the public) and threatened felony charges for teachers who don't fall in line-- that state also refuses to say that Nazi homeschooling is unacceptable. Gay penguins? Unacceptable. Black studies? Unacceptable. Teaching Nazi version of history? Well, um... we'll have to get back to you on that.

There are plenty of references to consider here. For instance, Wilhoit's Law applies, with its particular definition of current conservative thought

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

Mind you, that's not my idea of conservatism. Certainly not my father's conservatism. But here we are.

This is also a good time to recommend Katherine Stewart's The Power Worshippers. Stewart has been watching the rise of what we now call Christian nationalism (except, again, this is no version of Christianity that I recognize) and while the book includes a wealth of insights, the one that helps bring so much of these shenanigans into focus is this: 

For these christianist conservatives, the legitimacy of an enterprise comes from only one place. Christian nationalism "asserts that legitimate government rests not on the consent of the governed but adherence to the doctrines of a specific religious, ethnic, and cultural heritage." 

This applies across the board to all institutions--including education. A media outlet or a school (and a school board) are only "legitimate" insofar as they adhere to the correct doctrines. They are only legitimate to the extent that they are ideologically pure. And that purity can best be achieved by a strong leader at the top who is himself pure and has the strength to impose his will, to burn everything else to the ground and cleanse it with fire.

I will not pretend to have a sense of whether Ron DeSantis and his allies believe all this christianist nationalist authoritarian baloney or if he is simply an opportunist who sees the movement as a path to personal power, though I'm certain that he is surrounded by plenty of both types. I do believe that these folks have zero interest in discussions or debates about policy with impure infidels.

I can't imagine what it must feel like to be someone who made the choice to give up some of your time and effort to try to make a foundational part of your community work a little better for all students, and to find yourself targeted by the governor of your state and his cronies, and not just targeted, but demonized and vilified. It's all just ugly and getting uglier, and no number of invocations of God and Jesus will put a prettier face on it. 

1 comment:

  1. "I will not pretend to have a sense of whether Ron DeSantis and his allies believe all this christianist nationalist authoritarian baloney or if he is simply an opportunist who sees the movement as a path to personal power, though I'm certain that he is surrounded by plenty of both types."

    Trump for the most part was/is the opportunist. DeSantis is a true believer.