Florida Man…Again

For the past couple of years, comedians have focused on nutty things done by people–okay, men–who live in Florida, leading to a much-used meme about “Florida man.”

Maybe there’s something in the water that leads Florida guys to lose it–that would go part way, at least, to explaining Ron DeSantis. (Nothing I can come up with can explain the Florida voters who support him.)

Diane Ravich recently reported on  DeSantis’ headlong dive into authoritarian anti-Americanism.

Florida has become a Petri dish for potential fascism. DeSantis has made war on African Americans, on gays, on transgender people, on drag queens, on public schools, on higher education, even on private corporations (Disney). He likes to stand behind signs that declare Florida is “free,” but no one is free to disagree with him. That’s not freedom.

Now DeSantis has proposed to create a military force that answers only to him. To call out the National Guard, he must get federal permission. That’s not good enough for him. He wants a Florida state guard. Some other states have them, but they are not in the hands of a would-be dictator whose vanity knows no limits.

Ravich quoted a CNN report on the proposal that included the following paragraph:

But in a nod to the growing tension between Republican states and the Biden administration over the National Guard, DeSantis also said this unit, called the Florida State Guard, would be “not encumbered by the federal government.” He said this force would give him “the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.” DeSantis is proposing bringing it back with a volunteer force of 200 civilians, and he is seeking $3.5 million from the state legislature in startup costs to train and equip them.

The thought of giving this tin-pot would-be dictator the authority to call out troops to “respond to events” triggers all kinds of questions. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture DeSantis using his chosen goons to break up peaceful demonstrations–or other “woke” events like those nefarious Drag Story Hours at the local library.

And speaking of DeSantis’ “war on woke,” Florida media are reporting on recent actions taken by judges Herr DeSantis has placed on the state Supreme Court

Florida judges no longer will need to learn how to at least try to ensure “fairness and diversity” while applying the law under a rule change that the Florida Supreme Court has adopted by a nearly unanimous vote.

Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct still requires 30 hours of classes every three years about “judicial professionalism, opinions of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

However, the court has stripped language mandating education in “fairness and diversity” to count toward the requirement.

The order was signed by Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz and by associate justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, John Couriel, Jamie Grosshans, and Renatha Francis. All but two of them–Canady and Polston– were placed on the court by DeSantis.

One Justice, Jorge Labarga, dissented strongly. Labarga, appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist, wrote that  “this unilateral action potentially eliminates vital educational content from our state courts’ judicial education curriculum and does so in a manner inconsistent with this court’s years-long commitment to fairness and diversity education… Moreover, it paves the way for a complete dismantling of all fairness and diversity initiatives in the State Courts System. I strenuously dissent.”

And of course, DeSantis continues to wage war on education–especially, but not exclusively, higher education.

As one Florida newspaper has reported, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Florida universities had been told to prioritize diversity plans. Two years later, DeSantis is gutting them. The report quoted one official saying “It takes years to get where we’ve gotten. It takes days to destroy it.” 

As the Guardian has reported,

Florida’s rightwing Republican governor, Ron DeSantis – and likely would-be presidential candidate for 2024 – has launched a relentless campaign of attack on higher education in the state, seeking to appeal to his party’s Trumpist base by positing that the state’s colleges and universities are a bastion of liberal extremism that needs to be reformed.

Last week DeSantis unveiled plans for a sweeping overhaul of Florida’s state university system that has left thousands of in-state students and faculty members feeling by turns indignant and dumbfounded as the man seen by many as Donald Trump’s only serious Republican rival set them up as a punchbag for his self-declared “war on woke”.

DeSantis may have trouble selling his “in your face” fascism to a national electorate. It’s hard to see how he might “pivot” to the center after winning the GOP nomination–even assuming he can wrest that nomination from Trump.

But “Florida man” is undoubtedly the (terrifying) face of today’s GOP.


  1. Perhaps DeSantis read the oath sworn by men and women who enlist with military services, including The National Guard: “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    Does DeSantis wish also to rewrite the oath when forming his own state capitol guard?

  2. Glad to see the “reformed Republican” anti-democratic BS called out and named for what it is! I wonder about the Cuban nationalized voters who have experienced fascism and the elders who lived thru WWII. Will they still support DeSantis?

  3. Pamela Altmeyer Alvey, Unfortunately the Cuban nationalized voters have been a reliable GOP voter base. All a GOP candidate has to do is spout ‘family values’ and take an anti-abortion stance and these voters fall in line.

  4. explaining Ron DeSantis. (Nothing I can come up with can explain the Florida voters who support him.)

    He ran against a black man.

  5. DeSantis epitomizes the worst of the new face of the GOP under the guise of “rationality” and sincerity.
    However, the opposite is manifestly true when examining his actions. There is no freedom from hypocrisy in his calculated actions toward governing.

  6. DeSantis is a fascist who is attracted to authoritarianism. Plain and simple.

    I can only imagine the pile of Patriot trash within the “200 volunteers.” He’s asking for over $1 million to train this pool of rednecks with guns – the redneck militia paid for by taxpayers.

    The other red state governors will want a redneck militia as well. smdh

  7. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis is already into full on fascist territory. He has worked diligently to pass legislation to punish people or groups that he and his party politically disagree with. Disney publicly opposed anti-gay legislation last year and now it has passed and he has signed it into law.

    DeSantis might not be coming for you guns, but he is coming after businesses that don’t want to alienate 10% of population from the states workforce.

    Last year Disney publicly opposed the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” law and they became a Right wing target as a “woke” corporation.

    The Florida Legislature approved a bill that restricts the autonomy of Florida’s largest private employer over a fight involving the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity. In a very anti-democracy move, the Governor has taken over the board that governs the 25,000 acres that Disney sits on. Florida has what they call development districts. They have hundreds of them. “The Villages” is one of the more famous. They are like incorporated towns, where the property owners elect a board and they do the things a normal government would do, like build streets, approving. zoning, maintain police and fire, and tax. Disney created the Reedy Creek Development District when it bought 25,000 to build it’s theme park. As the only property owner in the district, they got to pick the board, and it gave them some advantages, like financing major “public” infrastructure with municipal e bonds. They have been very above board with this, and used the law as intended. DeSantis wanted to abolish the district last year, but a financial analysis showed that the two counties that Disney resides in, would have to take over all of the services, along with almost a $1billion of financed debt. So he scrapped that plan, and came up with a new one where he just takes over the appointment of all of the board members. Of the hundreds of special development districts in Florida, I think this is the only one where the Governor gets to make all of the appointments and that they aren’t selected locally. “Taxation without Representation” comes to mind.


  8. DeSantis has appointed six of his like minded cohorts to the board of Florida’s New College, a liberal minded, excellent school. Up until now

  9. I dont truck in FL, `anymore, seems theres a faction of lawenforcement hell bent on any truck, for any reason,besides the freight outta there $ucks to. back 8 years ago, the wife and I decided to rent a beach house near panama city and paid for a day sail on a nice sailboat,turned a off season
    small town restaurants and drinkin est,glad to see some cash flow. a working vacation. had a nice time,on the way out we pulled off a exit and spotted a fast food and a off the pavement shoulder for a 72 foot truck,(ya dont take a truck thru drive thrus eh?) and truck parking in a state like FL sucks anyway. NIMBY,style of thinking by locals.(while we gleefully pad your ass)now this was just a grab and go,not sit down, before i got back, a tropper decicided i was parked ,not to his personal standrards.thats,his personal standard. $110 later and a less than five finger wave goodbye, i decided,FL sucks anyway,and my money is better spent elsewhere,(that list is getting shorter,but more liberal). but then again it could have been that Bernie 2016 for pres bumper sticker on the back of my trailer. maybe some never heard of boycotting,and maybe theres just better education elsewhere,and of course.why support a sysytem that seems to cater to a white only post segregation era,where even poor whites will be pushed into a chasm of neglect and ridicule. seems the popular go tos of florida are wealth,high times,and drunk drivers,greed and influence,no one else is better,and of course blaitant disregard for anyone. it didnt me 40 years of trucking to understand going to FL had all these amenities all rolled up into one highly enforced
    mindset. TV has given the FL the right to project these wanton ideas mentioned,to be exploited for gain while no one is listening desatan,(lets give him a cheap name,maybe some will listen) if there should be a wall around any state,how about FL?
    seems when the wind blows we could kill off a buncha them by denying them the right to e$cape.

  10. The proposed volunteer state militia sounds pretty frightening. I can envision members of the state legislature being the first ones to fall in line with Herr Hitler, er DeSantis. Those that dare to push back might serve a very long prison sentence for commiting some concocted crime against the governor’s own laws.

    The far right authoritarianism continues to resemble 1930’s Europe.

  11. My older daughter and I are now in Naples, Florida, ensconced in my house on the lake, a house I have agreed to sell. We are here for the upcoming closing. I have lived first here in an RV, then a fifth wheel, and finally in this two bedroom-two bath lakeside house. I am selling for one reason: Herr Ronald DeFascist. I like the people in this 504-home park but I will not be governed by a fascist and lend legitimacy to his rule by remaining here and paying taxes that are his to spend via a cowed Republican legislature.

    I will have many fond (pre fascist) memories of my some 34 years spent here, but with a Publix store across the street from our park and a heiress of that grocery empire who offered three million dollars to Trump’s attempt to overthrow our government (I will not shop there now) in addition to a fascist governor my current memories have turned from fond to ugly and I’m outta here after the closing, and although one could argue that moving from fascist Florida to supermajority Indiana does not pose much of a contrast there’s always Illinois (like Champaign-Urbana), or the real Balm in Gilead > Vermont with winters in St. Croix.

  12. DeSantis sells the myth that it’s ok to defund Federal Government because state government is sufficient to meet local needs. Of course that’s precisely what the Confederacy did going on 200 years ago. We can speculate that the reasoning behind his proposal was probably similar and the consequences probably would be too.

  13. I would venture to say, the Florida Gubna won’t have far to find his 200 volunteers! Training? They’ll just be members of oathkeepers and proud boys! So Who, what and why, does he have to train? United States has a large pool of right wing fascist military type nutjobs, they’ll all flock to Florida, because they’ll have a permission slip for anything and every sort of conduct! Papers please? Papiere Bitte!

    Jack, lol!

  14. A sad truth is that people who grew up under dictators tend to hate their former dictator, but believe that “strong men” are the only true leaders. Hence Cuban-Americans love “strong man” DeSantis and Russian-Israelis love Netanyahu. Bullies are the only thing they understand and they don’t like the messiness of democracy – as long as it is their bully in charge.

  15. DeSantis is chanelling Mussolini, and doing it too well!
    Wiil he order brown shirts as the uniform for his “troops?”
    He will out-Trump Trump, and Trump’s toxic legacy will get
    still more energized by DeSantis, simply by his being on the
    political stage, through 2024.
    The by now old meme, “Elect a clown, expect a circus,”
    will prove to be vastly understated, and under rated thanks to
    Mr. Orange Narcissism, Inc.

Comments are closed.