Editor: The following opinion article contains satire. Read with caution 🙂
By the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Editorial Board, May 15, 2023.
Some LGBTQ, immigrants rights and Black advocacy organizations have made a great show of issuing national “travel advisories” to warn, well, members of the LGBTQ, immigrant and African American communities that visiting the state of Florida could put their safety at risk.
The various groups have cited a litany of reasons for frantically activating the “Hey, y’all better steer clear of here!” klaxon horn on Florida. But all of their open fretting largely stems from one thing, and that’s the eager willingness of Gov. Ron DeSantis to:
- Expand the derisively nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” law so that it now effectively prohibits school discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity through all grades.
- Prevent public school employees from referring to students by pronouns that differ from their gender at birth.
- Forbid gender-transition health care for minors and markedly restrict it for adults.
- Stigmatize drag queens as representing a widespread threat to basic morality and decency in the state.
- Criminalize the use of bathrooms in public buildings that don’t match the individual’s sex at birth.
- Redraw congressional district maps to deliberately weaken the political power of Black voters in Florida – and also diminish their level of legislative representation in Washington.
- Violate the principles of good taste by relentlessly uttering the term “woke” in such an icky, cringey and sneering manner that the word now seems more like a racial, ethnic or homophobic slur.
- Dismiss the legitimacy and value of academic courses that present full and complete perspectives on slavery, racism and other irrefutable elements of America’s history.
- Totally erase programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Florida’s colleges and universities.
- Bar the state from teaching an Advanced Placement course, proposed by the national College Board, on African American studies.
- Put scores of migrants on planes and fly them in secretive fashion from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard without their genuine assent and consent.
- Sign a new immigration law, billed as perhaps the most draconian among U.S states, that targets undocumented immigrants in wide-ranging, punitive fashion – and devotes millions of dollars to staging even more flights to forcibly transport new arrivals to other states.
Now, sure, that does look like a lengthy list of grievances.
And, yes, at first glance it might appear the advocacy groups have justifiable reasons for concern.
But shouldn’t we be fair and balanced here?
Shouldn’t we extend the olive branch of goodwill to the governor, and stop assuming that he’s only interested in extending a tapioca-covered middle finger to the communities these advocacy groups represent?
Shouldn’t we cling to the noble, lofty concept that we all have better angels hovering over our shoulders, and cut the governor some slack when he suggests these travel advisories are “ridiculous” and amount to little more than –cue the icky, sneering, cringey tone – “woke” organizations engaging in stunts?
We unabashedly and proudly say, “Yes!”
We say everyone should possess the unfettered ability – without being swayed by those who irresponsibly traffic in over-the-top handwringing and needless fearmongering – to come to Florida and deeply inhale the fresh, sweet, exhilarating air of this oh-so-free state.
So to put all these overly alarmist advocacy groups at ease, we have come up with a list of 10 ways Gov. DeSantis is actually making Florida a more welcoming place for immigrants, African Americans and members of the LGBTQ community.
Here we go:
- Umm . . .
- Errrr . . .
- Uhhhh . . .
- Ohhhhh yeah! What about . . . ah . . . never mind.
- (We’re whistling a tuneless ditty as we anxiously wait to move on to “No. 6,” which is . . .
- Ahhhh . . . .
- (We’re whistling again)
- Hmm . . .Hmmm …Hmmmmm . . .Say, didn’t Taylor Swift perform some concerts in Florida not long ago? She has fans in just about every possible demographic group, right? Shouldn’t that count? No??? It shouldn’t??? Are you sure???
- OK, look, just peruse “1” to “9” again for us – and see if youcan come up with any suggestions to help us out.
We’ll be right here…..We’ll be waiting….. And whistling.
This editorial was written by Opinions Editor Roger Brown for the Herald-Tribune Editorial Board.