“Dictator DeSantis,”—Valley educator concerned with Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bans on education, African American studies, books, gender and sexual identification and other “protected freedoms”


Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a rally in Tampa Convention Center in Tampa Florida 2022

Nicole White - Editorial, Reporter - Opinion

“Dictator DeSantis, that’s what he is,” says Arizona university professor who is keeping a close watch on the recent laws introduced and quickly enacted by a head-nodding Florida GOP state majority on pretty much anything their Governor, Ron DeSantis, backs and promotes.

“Florida is being ruled by a dictator and the state has become the benchmark for a GOP state government takeover on education, censorship, personal lifestyle choice, abortion and on The First Amendment itself—our protected freedoms,” says Valley professor who’s been teaching political science for more than two decades and who spoke with Northeast Valley News on the condition of anonymity over fear of retribution.

So far, DeSantis’ backed and promoted legislation includes, ‘Don’t Say Gay’— a Florida law that restricts educators from discussing sexual orientation in classrooms, he has banned instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, limited the teaching of racism and other aspects of history and most recently banned the College Board’s Advanced Placement courses in African American studies for high school students.

DeSantis has also made some unsettling comments reported in the Jewish Journal, regarding references to George Soros—this is language that many in the Jewish community see as code for antisemitism.

“It is unconscionable for the governor to strip away local districts’ abilities to control their lives and their policies, and in doing this he has been using antisemitic dog whistles,” said Samuel Edelman, vice president for issues for the Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus in the same report by the Jewish Journal.

Last August, Neo-Nazis reportedly gathered outside of Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit to support Governor Ron DeSantis and passed out antisemitic propaganda.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom compared DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill with a 1978 bill in California that almost banned gay teachers from classrooms.

“Teachers were under assault because God forbid, teachers were homosexual,” Newsom said. He said the initiative argued that gay teachers “would be grooming our kids.”

Newsom quickly dismissed the “grooming” claim. “That was the debate we were having in the 1970s,” the California governor said.

What should be troubling is that DeSantis is amassing victories at warp speed in a GOP controlled and unapologetic, subservient state legislature.

The weekly unveiling of restrictive legislation is seen by many opponents and activists—appalled by the overhaul of historic laws— as a very public and strategic move to appeal to the MAGA camp— now eyeing DeSantis.

This is the groundwork that DeSantis is spreading in order to exhibit unquestioning power over lawmakers.

DeSantis’ will fashion a leadership crown, at all costs and ahead of his presidential run in 2024.

“The ease at which DeSantis is pushing and succeeding with laws that limit personal and legal freedoms should concern every American,” said the Arizona history educator.