Updated: Mar 26
(a.k.a. "Oh, Harlot: Just put on the white robe and hood already")
It has always been clear to me that you do not see your role as a politician, let alone governor of the state of Florida, as actually being that of a public servant. In fact, the idea of serving the public who elected you to this position, along with your time in the U.S. House of Representatives, seems to be completely lost on you. I guess your ears can only hear the requests made to you from your wealthy supporters and corporate donors as they write big checks to your campaigns and political-action committees.
Much like the rest of the GOP caucus that you fall in line with, those who call themselves by your own moniker—the Freedom Caucus—you have no true concern for the plight of average, working-class, human beings. You have no working knowledge of what the word "freedom" means. You loathe the poor and despise people of color, whether they are brown people fleeing death and persecution in Central and South America in recent times, or they are Black Americans who have the right to all of the same freedoms you claim for yourself and your ilk.
That would be wildly amusing, if it weren’t so painfully true, since all eight of your great-grandparents were Italian immigrants, all of whom arrived here in the early 20th century—just barely more than 100 years ago. Most of the people you target, specifically Black Americans, can trace their ancestors several hundred years to the point when they were kidnapped from their families and villages in Africa, sold, and forced into physical labor for wealthy white people here starting in 1619, three-hundred years before your Italian ancestors arrived.
But of course, you believe that the New York Times’ 1619 Project is some egregious form of “revisionist” history; you deny the veracity of these facts that illustrate how enslaved Africans began arriving on our shores more than four hundred years ago. I find the irony quite distasteful.
Your great-great-grandparents, as immigrants, (yes, immigrants) likely faced the same kind of abuse, hatred, and unethical treatment you have shown to modern immigrants who, like your own ancestors, simply want to find a better life for themselves and their children. Add to that, your family and your ancestors, like many of those trying to cross our southern border today, are Roman Catholic. How can you possibly be so cruel to people with whom you have so much in common? It’s something I’ll never understand.
Nor will I ever understand the people who support you and vote for you. The only thing I can see is that cruelty is really your true religion. You treat human beings as pawns simply because you believe it will make you a stronger political candidate and help you find your way into the Oval Office. (God help us all, if that happens.) With one hand, you deny the existence of COVID-19 and the pain and suffering it caused thousands of people in your state, and hundreds of thousands in the United States. Meanwhile, with the other hand, you take $12 million of the federal funds given your state—intended to fight COVID and help your constituents—and use it, instead, to manipulate 50 immigrants onto a plane to Martha’s Vineyard with false promises of jobs and housing.
Please explain this to me: How one can waste that much taxpayer money to one's own greedy advantage and still call oneself a "fiscal conservative"? The juxtaposition of these two things boggles the mind.
You claim, wrongly, that the 1619 project is historically inaccurate. And now you want to use your power, as governor, to prevent American students from learning African American history in Florida schools. Why? First, you have an extremely flawed definition of the word “freedom.” Second, you are the one trying to promote revisionist history. You apparently are so terrified of people of color, and the idea that as voters, they also have power, that you want to completely erase their history and remove from them their own freedom to participate in the political process, so that you can hold onto that power you feel you deserve.
The idea that you, and most of the members of your party, especially the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” willingly and blindly embrace such incomprehensible racism simply blows my mind. And it makes me sad for you all, because living one’s life with so much hatred is a hard row to hoe. (Not that you would even know how to use a hoe.) It is an absolute waste of all that God and the Universe offer us as human beings in this one life you've been given.
This country, since the beginning, has been extraordinarily successful working to erase Black history from our textbooks to the point where it has almost been completely eliminated. Slaves were happy with their lot, because they would have been totally incapable of living as free men and women, is one ridiculous argument that was made by whites to keep Blacks oppressed and enslaved.
I have to believe that, in the end, it can’t and won’t work forever. It is unsustainable in a world in which white people like you and me are hurtling toward minority status in the U.S. and, frankly, the world. It’s futile and a waste of time, and an egregious waste of the power bestowed upon you as a public servant.
Black Americans are much more responsible for building this country than whites. Enslaved Blacks built the “massa’s” mansions, as well as probably all of the buildings in Washington, D.C., that we hold as our dearest symbols of freedom—including the U.S. Capital and the White House, not to mention most of the state houses in the South.
Why am I ranting about all of this? Because I’m a historian, and I am one of those Americans you love to hate: I am a fervent believer in the power of being truthful; I am a smart, well-educated, free and critical thinker, and I read things. (And, I am a woman, which probably infuriates you and your ilk.)
I read books like The Ledger and the Chain, They Were Her Property, and others that thoroughly outline the extent to which the growth of our early national economy was inextricably linked to the existence of the institution of slavery and the commercial gains it provided the wealthy white planter class. The United States has flagrantly disguised itself as a bastion of freedom; but, without the horrible abuses our Black American comrades endured for centuries as an enslaved and oppressed people, this country would never have gained its place on the global economic stage.
The idea that you, Gov. DeSantis, promote an idea that African American history, especially the proposed advanced-placement high school curriculum designed by the U.S. College Board, "lacks educational value” is preposterous. And as ridiculous as your team's preposterous statement is, the fact that you claim it to be “contrary to Florida law,” but cannot identify which law you are referring to (probably because such a law doesn’t exist), is even more so.
The bottom line is simple and clear: You are as un-American as you are weak, and you should never have been given the power (and honor) of being a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, let alone governor of a state. My sole consolation is that this is exactly how history will remember you, sir.
*(You may have noticed that I'm a liberal-leaning person who believes in justice and in the idea that all people are worthy of being treated well and equally. I also believe in universal healthcare, and the idea that Medicare and Social Security are NOT entitlement programs, because those benefits come from our own individual contributions and are not supported by taxpayers in general. That said, I'm hoping that we can still be friends, even if you consider "liberal" to be a four-letter word.)