Saturday, May 27, 2023

DeSantis' Path to Power

At Joe Biden's inauguration, a young black poet, Amanda Gorman, read her poem "The Hill We Climb." Recently, the poem was removed from a school library on the objection of one parent. Greg Sargent writes:

That parent’s complaint, which was obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project, was that the poem has indirect “hate messages” and would “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.” In reality, Gorman’s poem calls for bridging our divides to enable our country to live up to its promise, declaring this an incomplete project. The idea that this represents hate and indoctrination is farcical.

If anything, the poem offers a dramatically different message from racial discourse the right usually objects to, i.e., that our white-supremacist past and continuing structural racism render our country irredeemable. The poem says our nation “isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”

The man who made all this absurdity happen -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis -- defended the school's decision:

“It was a book of poems that was in an elementary school library,” DeSantis told a convention on Friday, though it was in fact one poem. DeSantis insisted the school district in question merely “moved it from the elementary school library to the middle school library,” and ripped “legacy media” for calling this a “ban,” complaining of a “poem hoax.”

That’s a shameless but revealing characterization of what happened. It’s true that Gorman’s poem was removed from the elementary school section of the library at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes and that access was preserved for middle school students.

DeSantis objects to calling what happened a “ban.” But the book was placed beyond the reach of elementary school kids for no reason whatsoever. What message does it send that a school went along with the idea that the poem read by the young Black poet at Biden’s inauguration is inappropriate for children, on grounds that it constitutes hate and indoctrination?

It’s also important to note that in response to complaints from that same parent, the school removed two other titles about Black history: “Love to Langston” and “The ABCs of Black History.” Her main objection to these books? They are “CRT” — meaning critical race theory.

That’s preposterous. Those books were written expressly to introduce kids in lower grades to these topics. As Stephana Ferrell, co-founder of Florida Freedom to Read, told me: “The books celebrate Black history, culture and famous voices in a way that connects with elementary school students.” Isn’t that what we want?

Finally, it’s absurd that all this happened due to such specious objections from one person. The school’s rationale for removing the books is that they’re age-inappropriate, but it doesn’t even say why they’re inappropriate for elementary school kids. It’s obvious that the school tried to split the difference, not removing them entirely but still seeking to make this one parent happy.

American racism is very much alive and well. And DeSantis believes it will get him elected president.

Image: The Washington Post


Cap said...

DeSantis' presidential campaign exploded at launch. He's toast. But I wonder what he'd say if a single parent's complaint about racist, misogynistic, homophobic and genocidal content got the Bible banned from the school library.

Anonymous said...

DeSantis, and all of the richly deserved plays on his name, is a massively empty suit of a man that's being propped up as the get out of jail free card against the Trump stranglehold. He is doing what is expected of him, which is to distract and appeal to the lowest of the low stupid but not always uneducated voters. You will recall GW Bush enacted the same strategy against the hated other in 2004 when he pushed for bans on same sex marriage, a cynical and truly sickening political game. Same story, different decade attacking pride and trans youth; Death Santis is even going one step lower into the gutter by legitimizing denial of health care if it hurts the practitioners spaghetti monster beliefs. If trump drops dead or somehow is held accountable for his heinous white collar crimes, a mere 70,000 votes in swing states will allow this goon into the White House a sobering and scary thought. BC Waterboy

Owen Gray said...

Ban the Bible, Cap? Those who wish to ban Gorman's poem believe that she and her ancestors are descendants of Cain.

Owen Gray said...

Indeed, waterboy. Minority rule is what it's all about for these folks.

Lorne said...

Note this euphemistic language from the good governor, Owen: DeSantis insists books aren't actually being "banned" in his state's schools, preferring to call the forced removal of some books "curation choices that are consistent with state standards."

Owen Gray said...

DeSantis knows exactly what he's doing, Lorne. That's exactly why he is so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Does all this banning of books and poems really make any difference in keeping the kids from reading them. After all, there is an internet out there.

What it really does is prove the intolerance of some individuals and institutions.


Trailblazer said...

I have to wonder if George Orwell's 1984 is banned?
( All be it a tad above De Santis's pay grade)

With the current view on inappropriate books , the Bible should be on the chopping block!
Sadly the inhabitants of the USA are so shit scared of at least a review of the not so good book they remain mute!
The USA has become a land where superstition reigns..


Owen Gray said...

Prohibition proved that you couldn't keep people from alcohol, UU. Perhaps you're right.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect DeSantis has read 1984, TB. After all, he wants to rewrite history. Maybe that's where he got the idea.

Northern PoV said...

In a sane country a kid like Amanda Gorman would be on a fast track to the Whitehouse and a kid like Kyle R. would not exist.

Meanwhile, James Hansen joins us in the fringe group that sees things unraveling in decades (or even just years) rather than the more comfortable Michael Mann group that reassures us that IF we do something NOW, then there is still time to avoid it.

Owen Gray said...

Like Nero playing his harp, PoV, they're having a good time as it all burns down.