The 2022 Midterm elections are almost upon us which means that incumbents and candidates alike are “taking it to the streets.” The tension is in the air and campaign funds are being spent round the clock to saturate print and digital media with ads that highlight the pros of one candidate and the cons of another. Let the potential registered voter beware! It’s a jungle out here! An all-out war to garner the attention of the undecided voter, and maybe turn the head of a few voters who have already made their choice, on the last leg of this election season. The sure-ﬁre way to do so is through televised debates. And who doesn’t love a good, solid debate? Last week, the Marco Rubio – Val Demings debate went national because of the heat that Demings brought to the incumbent senator. Had Marco Rubio on the robes with those one two punches that landed in the gut.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist sparred for one hour Monday evening in what many would call a healthy, rousing debate that had both men on the ropes, ﬁghting their way out of the corner for votes, and maybe for DeSantis, posturing for a potential 2024 presidential candidacy. Former governor and congressman Crist asked DeSantis outright if that was his intent, to leave his gubernatorial post in two years (if DeSantis wins next month) to run for president, of which DeSantis looked dumbfounded and uncomfortable in responding. But we all know the answer to that question. Of course, DeSantis will be throwing his hat in the big pond next year. That is what these past two years have been all about! Every piece of legislation DeSantis has afﬁxed his John Hancock to, is just another working cog that ﬁts into the machinery that is a moving vessel for his presidential candidacy. But there is of course a monkey wrench that may stop the mechanism from getting very far: Donald J. Trump. Trump has all but publicly declared that he plans to run for president in 2024. So that means that the GOP may have a dilemma on their hands. Who will they throw their support to? Trump or DeSantis? With the GOP’s swift transformation into the Trumpublican MAGA party, the home of the ‘big lie’ and other tall tales, any candidate that would like to kiss the ring of the party formerly know as Republican will have to prove that it will adhere to the tenets of said political party.
The Trump presidency introduced America to some of the framework of the new Republican party. There is the “good on both sides” argument that translates into racists and bigots are good, decent people that should not be viliﬁed. Who can forget the war on science when the covid pandemic ﬁrst hit the U.S.? Dr. Fauci versus Donald Trump. Can a light source and bleach cure covid? These are the greatest hits of the new Republican party, the Trumpublican MAGA party and DeSantis, whom once was an astute ally of Donald Trump, soon outperformed him with his own ideology that is an even greater threat to minorities and democracy.
DeSantis is problematic on so many levels. Through his legislation and policies, DeSantis has proven repeatedly that African Americans, Indigenous Peoples, the LGBTQI+ community, and immigrants cannot trust him as a leader. DeSantis has proved beyond a doubt that his politics leans toward the platform of White supremacy or White Nationalism. Anything that White supremacy cannot deﬁne or understand, it destroys or dismantles. Anything that is a threat to the foundation of White supremacy is targeted and disemboweled. DeSantis does not mind using White Nationalism as a playbook to propel him to the upper echelons of the new Republican incarnation as he revealed during his debate with Crist on Monday. Even if that means revising American history. In a moment that made eyebrows go up, DeSantis mentioned during a round of questioning about Critical Race Theory or CRT that he thinks its “inappropriate and not true” for schools to teach that what is now North America was violently snatched from the Indigenous Peoples who inhabited the land. DeSantis stated to a shocked crowd that in Florida “I’m happy that we’re going to be able to have accurate history and we’re going to make sure we honor those who have sacriﬁced so that we can be free.”
What is DeSantis talking about? And who are “those who have sacriﬁced” according to him, “so that we can be free?” Are the ones that have “sacriﬁced” perhaps the dozens of Indigenous Peoples and tribes who once inhabited Florida? The Ais? The Apalachie? The Calusa? The Tequesta? The Jeaga? The Jobe? Or perhaps the Saturiwa? Who are the ones that are supposed to “be free?” Certainly not the British and Spanish settlers of Florida. They were already “free.” But it was the Indigenous Peoples and African slaves who were not experiencing freedom in the early days of America. So, what is DeSantis referring to? This is an exercise in the white washing of American History to perpetuate White supremacy which has always been a principal methodology in White nationalistic rhetoric. Total erasure of the facts. Just say it didn’t happen enough times and someone will eventually believe it, which is the plan. Rewrite history to empower those who believe in the supremacy of one race over another. Ron DeSantis wants to feed Florida’s children a plate of White supremacist lies so that Black Floridians will regress to third class status, and LGBTQI+ Floridians will retreat in the closet. That is how MAGA works. According to scholars, there was once almost a population of nearly a million Indigenous Peoples in Florida before the Spaniards arrived in the 1500’s. Now only 0.3% are in residence. Those are the facts, and no matter which way DeSantis tries to sanitize what can only be said to be an act of criminality and genocide wrapped up in a holiday called ‘Thanksgiving,’ the truth has a way of triumphing.