The fractured politics of Ron DeSantis


Courtesy of Paul Hennessy for SOPA images; edited by Ivan Mendoza

Florida governor Ronald Dion DeSantis transformed into a spectacle within the political hemisphere for his aggressive fight against a woke agenda and left-leaning ideologies. But over time, his words and actions have added extra setbacks for several POCs and minorities in Florida and America. From his anti-abortion campaigns to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill to abusive power toward undocumented Americans, DeSantis only rises in popularity alongside his fractured mindset.

Zioni Moore and Ivan Mendoza

Stripping down the true nature of Black history due to the discomfort of a white man: this action spoke loud and clear to the 41.6 million Black Americans after the recent change in curriculum to the previously acclaimed AP African American studies course. As a result of the ever-increasing temper tantrums from Florida governor Ron DeSantis, the College Board announced February 1—the first day of Black History month—that they would not allow certain self-chosen controversial and recent events to enter the classroom in discussion. For several Americans, this decision sparked rejoicing among those who wish to silence the woke agenda, sorrow amongst those who understand the true meta and dystopian horror of the situation, and confusion as to who DeSantis stands as in the American sense of power. Spoiler alert: this level of right-wing political change by his hand essentially exists as his calling card. Moreover, his extreme levels of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and homophobia have complied over the past decade to create a dangerously powerful man that hauntingly wishes to run for the Presidency. 

Born Ronald Dion DeSantis, a third-generation immigrant, grew up in Jacksonville to supposed blue-collar parents. His rise to the political party serves as, notability, one embodying the American dream: from humble beginnings to the prestigious Yale University, to continuing his education at Harvard Law School. He then served as a federal prosecutor against several child predators in Iraq.

As DeSantis persisted in his diligent work as a prosecutor, he submerged himself into the world of conservatism and would eventually publish “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama” in 2011. As his first published work of writing would insinuate, DeSantis writes in a belligerent manner toward the former presidency through claims that he ran the United States “akin to governments throughout Europe” while asserting that Obama’s political agenda ruined the principles of the Founding Fathers. Alongside his frequent commentary on right-leaning broadcasts such as Fox News, DeSantis ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and easily won his 2013 election representing District 6 in northeastern Florida until 2018

Ever since Trump won his presidential ticket in the 2016 election, news outlets and Americans nationwide unveiled a curtain that revealed the antagonization of undocumented immigrants within our borders. From Trump’s harrowing description of immigrants as “rapists” and “killers” to his failed attempt at terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows immigrants that entered America at young ages to obtain work permits, to a rise of hate crimes toward Hispanic Americans during his administration, the last couple of years for immigrants became reminiscent of a living nightmare rather than an American dream. In a sense, Trump passed a baton of prejudice to these rising politicians at the end of his presidency. 

However, his actions toward 50 Venezuelan migrants showcased an act of abuse and inhumanity. His act of borderline human trafficking angered Hispanic Americans and placed him in a class-action lawsuit. Within it, the undocumented immigrants fled Venezuela due to its high levels of violent and petty crime. Once they arrived at America’s borders, they surrendered to immigration officials and officers relocated them to a Texas migrant center. Upon arrival, associates of Desantis allegedly took advantage of these desperate immigrants with American dreams as they offered $10 McDonald’s gift cards and promised employment opportunities in cities such as Washington D.C. and Boston if they boarded a privately chartered plane. As they boarded their airplanes, associates also handed official-looking brochures that falsely claimed they would provide cash assistance upon landing. Yet, these airplanes left 50 human beings stranded in Martha’s Vineyard without informing local officials about their arrival. 

“Sincerely I saw all of this as a political game as [DeSantis] played with the necessity of these people and played with their desperation. I remember seeing it on the news and I viewed this act of transporting migrants to unknown places as disgusting and it filled me with rage,” Spanish teacher Lorna Fair-Tham said. 

 But he does not just pull the punches with Latino and Hispanic communities. He plays a bingo card with practically every marginalized group, with the LGBTQIA+ community gaining massive nationwide attention. The ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’, or HB 1557, aims to “prohibit classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner.” While certain Americans agree with the needed implementation, arguing for the ability of the parent to serve as the first introduction to those topics and ideas. However, the vast majority of the population argues against the bill, claiming that the requirement of teachers to out—force queer individuals out of the closet— students to potentially dangerously homophobic parents or guardians could prove exceedingly hostile.

 To once serve the international communities of multiple countries justice through his prosecution of sex offenders and traffickers now all but dwindles down the drain with his new policies on abortion rights. All in the name of fanning the fumes of a culture war that he started. That violation of the self, at any age, can almost only become combated with financial power and status within the current social hierarchy. Statistically, white, affluent cisgender women will continue to possess connections and the ability to travel out of state to seek gynecologic healthcare, but minority women, especially if they do not live above the poverty line, become the main targets of this genocidal behavior. All for a race war that, frankly, does not exist. If it does, he actively instigates one. 

Regardless, his actions have condemned the GOP, splitting them into two factions: those who wish to encourage all of his mentioned actions and success within the political sphere mainly as a form of expression of their White supremacy, bigotry and economic prowess within society and those who want nothing to do with them. For a number of people, DeSantis’ actions remain in line with acts of godly righteousness, especially his recent bill signings, which have spread to the Midwest. Evangelical Protestantism and conservatism mixed together to form the cocktail of his self-righteous crusade, and DeSantis and his followers do not plan to hit the brakes any time soon.

“It is disgusting how white people in positions of power continuously abuse the Black race. They realize the power that our ancestors long knew [through]….reciting our history…They know the strength that can be garnered in people who know where some [are] from and what they contributed to in America and the world… our very blood runs through America’s soul, our very tears water every tree and flower, and our very backs are what this country is built on…They can try all they [want] to silence us and our history but it will never work. Black people in this country will always have a voice and ensure that it’s heard,” North Atlanta High School senior IB student Chace Lewis said.