Colson: DeSantis doubles down on Trump |

Colson: DeSantis doubles down on Trump

John Colson
John Colson
Courtesy photo

I’m desperately hoping that the state of Florida has not replaced California as the bellwether of the nation, as in: “As California goes, so goes the nation.”

OK, let me explain a bit, starting with the concept of our national bellwether.

Did you know, to begin with, that the term originated in 15th century England as a description of the male sheep that leads the flock? The lead sheep wore a bell around its neck and, by shepherding tradition, was the designated leader whenever the flock moved from here to over there.

Oh, and the “wether” part? That refers to the cringe-inducing concept that the lead sheep often has been castrated, meaning it can “baaaa” at a higher octave than the other he-sheep in the crowd, which may or may not be the defining ability of a leader.

Anyway, California for decades has generally been regarded as a trendsetter in a number of political, social, and ecological ways, perhaps building on the meteorological assumption that westerly winds blow everything Californian to the east, so the rest of the country eventually catches onto (or up to) whatever is going on along the West Coast.

Here in Colorado, we’ve seen a sociological example of this in recent times when the winds of social disruption in certain cities have blown a growing number of Californians eastward over the mountain ranges. This has brought a lot of them (mostly white and well-to-do) to roost in Colorado’s cities, valleys, and neighborhoods.

Of course, changing locales is just one of the trends represented by the “as California goes …” idea, and far more attention goes to such things as social justice movements, government accommodations to communities of color, environmental initiatives, and the like.

Which brings me to Florida and, more specifically, to that state’s governor, Ron DeSantis — a Republican who many fear may rise to challenge Donald Trump as the leader of the Republican Party and declare himself a presidential candidate.

I find it very interesting that DeSantis — who, as recently as 2018, was fawning over Trump’s endorsement of his bid for re-election as governor — is now sniping at the former president nearly as determinedly as he once sucked up to him.

Such are the perfidies of politics.

This is not to say that DeSantis is in any way distancing himself from what is known as Trumpism. No, Florida’s chief executive seems more intent on being more Trumpy than Trump himself.

For instance, there was his recent signature on the “Stop WOKE Act” that has been labeled as “a piece of Trumpist cultural warfare” (The New Yorker magazine) aimed at preventing Florida’s educational institutions from teaching anything to students about our country’s lamentably racist past.

The object of this law: a newly-revised educational initiative in Advanced Placement courses in high schools and colleges dealing with African American studies, which some of the nation’s top educators have said is critically needed if our country is ever to move beyond racism.

DeSantis also signed that nasty piece of legislation called “Don’t Say Gay,” a bill intended to throttle any discussion of sexual identity and gender identity subjects on the theory that if nobody is permitted to talk about it, then it can’t be worth talking about or teaching about.

Giving full display to his understanding of U.S. history, he appears to be doubling down on his racist and sexist talking points and even stretching them to cast a shadow over our nation’s troubling history with Native Americans.

At a gubernatorial debate last fall, according to published accounts, he made the outrageous remark that “it’s not true” that “the United States was built on stolen land,” a reference to the violent, genocidal invasion of North America by European immigrants.

Interestingly enough, Florida itself was once considered the last wilderness left in continental United States and was the scene of the most recent, blatant, forcible ejection of native tribes, well after the rest of the county had locked up most of those “Indians” in reservations, prisons, and graveyards.

This, I should point out, is only a partial list of DeSantis’ extremist views on a whole host of topics and, as such, offers a fairly limited scope of the reasons why I do not ever want this man to become president of the country.

We do not need another occupant of the White House whose only goal is to appease that substantial minority of voters who are terrified that people of color and the poor might gain their rightful places in our nation’s social and political discourse and might finally win a place at the table as full participants in fashioning our nation’s future course.