DeSantis is fashioning a fascist, gun-happier Florida

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It’s shaping up to be another ugly era in Florida.

Call this the first chapter of the “Ron DeSantis Without Trump in the Big House” saga.

The nation has clearly spoken with its votes —more than 78 million, the most ever cast for a U.S. presidential candidate.

But then, here’s Florida, home to the defeated president. In Florida, 51% of residents who voted, 5,658,847 out of a population close to 22 million, gave Trump the state win — and packed the Florida Legislature with Republicans.

His idol dethroned and emboldened by the solid majority wins in the House and Senate, Gov. DeSantis is taking steps to fashion a fascist, gun-happier Florida.

Crackdown on protesters

He’s proposing legislation that would treat civil rights protesters getting out of hand at demonstrations without permits or participating in demonstrations that turn violent like hardened criminals.

Most of Florida’s demonstrations have been peaceful. But DeSantis wants to make it hard for arrested protesters to get bail. And when they do get it, he wants “a rebuttable presumption on bail,” which means the law would require the court to presume that what’s on the arrest report is true until proven otherwise.

That’s usually reserved for dangerous criminals accused of murder, sexual assault, rape and all sorts of other serious felonies.

So how does a citizen who wants to exercise his or her right to free speech know ahead of time when a demonstration is going to turn violent?

The American Civil Liberties Union is going to have to move its headquarters from New York City to Florida.

Public harassment a crime

DeSantis also wants to make “harassing people in public” a criminal offense. So, no more yelling at people inside a restaurant or a store over politics.

He didn’t think that one through very well as most of the viral moments caught on video are about Trump supporters harassing people for things like speaking Spanish and wearing a mask.

But, more likely, DeSantis is looking to put on the books a law to be able to arrest truth telling Miami rights advocate Thomas Kennedy, who has interrupted DeSantis press conferences to call him out on his mishandling of the coronavirus.

“Shame on you,” the Florida director of United We Dream told DeSantis. “You are an embarrassment … We’re getting record breaking cases every day, and you are doing nothing.”

“You should resign!”

DeSantis doesn’t want people heckling him for the terrible job he’s doing. He doesn’t want “law and order.” He wants to stifle free speech. But his threats and erosion of home rule are OK.

The governor is also threatening cities and counties with any intention to “defund the police” — whatever that means beyond the world of hashtags — with withholding of state grant and aid funding.

Expanding stand your ground

But most telling of all is DeSantis’ call for an expansion of the troublesome and controversial Stand Your Ground Law to allow business owners to shoot looters or anyone involved in “criminal mischief.”

He calls it “anti-mob” legislation, but it’s an endorsement of vigilantes and of murder for a minor criminal offense.

It’s as if Florida, which let George Zimmerman get away with murdering a Black teen, didn’t already have enough vigilantes and wannabe vigilantes. But these are criminals the GOP likes because the ones we often hear about are Trump supporters.

In DeSantis World, they, instead of their victims, need to be protected. What’s next?

Banning the books Republicans aren’t fond of, sending writers to the slammer. No, it’s not preposterous. The GOP already campaigns fiercely to oust newspaper writers from their jobs.

No new civility

Sad to say, we were hoping this election would mark a new era of national civility. But there’s not going to be any moderation to the political discourse from Florida’s Republican leadership.

Rather than persuade people to wear masks to thwart the new surge of a virus that has killed more than 17,000 Floridians and infected more than 863,000, DeSantis is throwing a match onto all sorts of fires.

At a time of national reckoning on the sins of our past, DeSantis is trying to make things more comfortable for white people scared of Black and Latino people.

His intention to arm the population more than it already is — and to threaten, deter and disenfranchise free speech — should alarm everyone, no matter the party affiliation.

He’s not the governor of all Floridians. He’s an operative of Trump’s Republican Party with no mind of his own.

Up for reelection in 2022, DeSantis doesn’t think he has anything to fear from Florida voters.

He’s confident.

Like his one-term president mentor, DeSantis has stacked Florida’s courts with ultra  -conservatives, hoping they’ll see America’s constitutional freedoms his way — the fascist’s way.

Fabiola Santiago is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Desantis is doing great. As a political person in office you MUST draw the line… Somewhere.
    Do we want to allow the uneducated to criminalize our streets?
    Like they do in all major cities?
    Do we want any part of Florida to turn into more of a criminal controlling place?
    U tell me.

  2. Your understanding of Fascism is sorely lacking. Fascists, like other Socialists, want all power to be in the hands of government. Fascists, as totalitarians, would take firearms away from the people, not empower those people to defend themselves and their livelihoods. No Fascist regime would allow their citizens to have the means to protect their families and businesses.

  3. Allowing the mob to burn, loot, and murder for your political cause is the real authoritarian agenda that has been forced on us all of this year and it comes from the communist left. Free people have a natural/God given right to defend themselves and their property with deadly force and it is far past time we started exercising it.

    “You loot we shoot” signs have been a staple in Florida for decades. Now you have a problem with it only because your political party has been using the mob as a weapon. If it was your home or business or car being destroyed you would feel differently. If it was a mob that didn’t agree with you, you would feel differently. Imagine yourself surrounded by a mob of Proud Boys, yelling and chanting at you, and demanding that you say particular things. How safe would you feel? This is what people are being put through by Antifa and BLM now. It astounds me that people on the moderate left cannot see that it is their own people on the far left who are the true Nazis, fascists, and communist, which are really all different flavors of the same thing.

    As to who won, Biden has more votes than there are voters. Explain that. Democrats around the country have violated the rules on observing the count. Explain that. Ballots for Biden that don’t have matching signatures, that are so uniform they had to be printed by machine, that are from dead people, that are form ineligible to vote, that are form people who already voted for Trump are turning up all over the place. Explain that. More dead people have voted in this election than any in US history. Explain that. more voters have voted than there are registered voters in many areas. Many counties have reported votes from more precincts or districts than they have. Explain that. In PA over 160,000 absentee ballots for Trump are missing. Explain that.

    The fact is that you cannot explain any of it, you can only deny it which does nothing to bridge the divide in America. The people of this country had better figure what they are going to do when half the country doesn’t believe the election results. That is what is about to happen no matter the outcome of the legal challenges now underway and no matter who gets inaugurated in January.

  4. Guess what honey. You loot, we shoot. Don’t like it? Then DON’T LOOT. I know you think it is “patriotic” to steal a flat screen TV from Walmart as a “reparation” but the looters and rioters destroyed peoples lives for nothing.

  5. Stop gazing at the world through the portal of your navel!

    First, setting fire to a business or stealing all its inventory ISN’T a pretty crime. Both would be major to you, if it were your business being victimized. Under cover of a violent demonstration it’s worse. Not just civil disobedience. Mob rule!

    Second, Zimmerman, contrary to the inflammatory press, was acquitted because the physical evidence supported Zimmerman’s version of events, NOT the State’s Attorney’s ot the rage moby’s. Anyone who doesn’t make a lifestyle of denying reality, (or have a political axe to grind) and paid any attention to the proceedings would have noticed that.

    Florida, despite Florida Man/Person, will produce some very thoughtful, and duty driven, juries, especially in high profile cases. Would that other states would do the same…

  6. Since when we’re looting, rioting, and arson “minor” criminal offenses? I may not agree with DeSantis on this proposal, but your assessment of its implications is bereft of reality. Can we just stop all of this doomsaying?

  7. The angry and yes, Facistic, comments posted on here portray very well the phony and vicious Rush Limbaugh / hate radio thirty year legacy of bigotry, “cult” mythology and ignorance which has destroyed the GQP and which tried on January 6th to destroy the republic. Florida now the laughing stock of America and much of the world. Disantis and his ilk must go in ’22.

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