George Santos, aka George Anthony Santos, aka Anthony Devolder, aka George Anthony Devolder Santos, aka Kitara Ravache came under the national spotlight after winning election to Congress from Long Island, N.Y., with a fake résumé. But Santos is a minor player in the game of political deceit. Peddlers of falsehood have existed long before him. Instead of touting highly embellished stories about themselves, they create crises where none exist and then come up with solutions – lying as a form of governing.
Donald John Trump campaigned for the presidency on the basis of falsehoods, including his assertion that “I’m rich.” Lying became a hallmark of his presidency, capped off by his insistence that he won re-election in 2020, supported by several other leading Republican politicians, including some in Congress who also embrace the ridiculous lies of “Q.”
For a time, Texas Gov. Gregory Wayne Abbott stood out among the self-appointed warriors of an entirely made-up cultural war, demonizing and labeling as enemies of the United States all who disagree with them. But Abbott has long been surpassed by Florida Gov. Ronald Dion DeSantis.
The structure of deceit took shape at the outbreak of the coronavirus-19. There was little resistance initially to the advice from experts on the need to go into isolation and wear masks in public. But as Democrat Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. replaced Trump as president, Republican-controlled states shifted to even greater partisan mode. Some governors have created mini-nations of sorts rivaling the federal administration.
The crisis fabricators began opposing “mandates” intended to protect the nation’s health as attacks on constitutional rights, even as the number of deaths and hospitalizations soared. DeSantis came to embody this resistance, taking every action possible to frustrate the federal response to the covid outbreak in the name of upholding freedom. He demonized Biden and the “biomedical security state,” along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s chief virus expert, coining the slogan “Don’t Fauci my Florida,” which he put on campaign goods marketed to the public. Converting facts into manufactured grievance came also in a vendetta against critical race theory, a scholarly study of the country’s history of slavery and its enduring legacy of institutional racism. DeSantis fabricated a crisis of students in public schools and workers being brainwashed by a “woke” ideology intended to make European Americans feel ashamed of the past and create divisions among people. He banned teaching of history that includes slavery and businesses were told not to make it part of their employee training. The Florida Board of Education recently rejected an Advanced Placement course on African American studies in high schools, claiming it “lacks educational value,” with DeSantis adding that it “pushed an agenda.” The College Board spent more than 10 years developing the curriculum, which focuses on “vital contributions and experiences of African Americans” in subjects such as literature, the arts, political science, geography and science. In fact, schools do not teach critical race theory, but they do teach European American history. DeSantis signed a bill requiring a “Victims of Communism Day” to be observed every November, with students receiving at least 45 minutes of instruction on communism. The focus will be on the lives of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, China’s Mao Zedong, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the “poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence, and suppression of speech” during their regimes. Okay to study the atrocities of communism but not of slavery.
The “anti-woke” campaign was used to launch an offensive against academic freedom, putting students, teachers, librarians and university professors under unnecessary scrutiny and stress, and creating chaos over textbooks and library offerings.
An “anti-riot” law was passed to curb protests after George Floyd’s murder and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, even though there were no threats of violent demonstrations in Florida. The law makes it easier for police to charge anyone involved in a protest and empowers motorists to drive into demonstrators.
After boasting that Florida’s elections went off without a hitch, DeSantis created a fraud squad to go after non-existing election crime and laws have been enacted that make it difﬁcult for some Floridians to vote.
Evidently unwilling to be upstaged by Abbott’s busing thousands of refugees to Democratic-led cities and despite having no refugee crisis in Florida, some 49 refugees were rounded up in Texas and flown, with a stopover in Florida, to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. A crackdown was initiated against “sanctuary cities,” falsely claiming that they “basically create law-free zones where people can come to our state illegally and our country illegally, commit criminal offenses and then just walk right out the door and continue to do it.”
New laws ban teaching gender identity in schools to prevent grooming children for sexual exploitation – which it does not – and creating another scramble to ﬁnd “appropriate” textbooks. Walt Disney World was stripped of its special taxing district designation for criticizing what has been ridiculed as the “don’t say gay” policy.
It was no surprise that Orlando Democratic state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani once tweeted to DeSantis, “Stop creating fake problems.” That, of course, has not stopped the governor. He is far from being the only one to create fake problems and then solve them as a means of good governance. But he is especially able to fashion his state into his own ﬁefdom because his power is unchecked by an acquiescent Legislature overwhelmingly dominated for decades by fellow Republicans. He also claims that his supporters are willing to “walk over broken glass” for him, not unlike Trump’s 2016 boast that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” But perhaps the biggest con job is that, according to a promotional video, DeSantis was created as protector of God’s “planned paradise” and he relishes this “God complex,” as a New York Times headline branded it. In a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan, he loosely quoted from Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the full armor of God, so you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the world’s darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
For DeSantis, the source of all the supposed darkness and evil is the “left’s schemes” and he told the Hillsdale audience, “You will face flaming arrows but if you have the shield of faith, you will overcome them.” As for him, “in Florida we walk the line here. And I can tell you this, I have only begun to ﬁght.” George Anthony Devolder Santos, at least as far as is known, has not claimed divine inspiration as the source for his “résumé enhancement.”