I will not deny that Donald Trump did more to hurt America's reputation and the American ethos both at home and on the world stage than any president over the past century and a half. (Trust me on Andrew Johnson—he was awful.)
I can understand then why so many Americans of all parties do not want to see Donald Trump and his cadre of criminals stomping through the White House the way his acolytes stomped through the Capitol two years ago.
But be careful whom you support to stop him. Ron DeSantis is nothing more than Donald Trump with a brain. He's more competent and more conniving, and though Donald Trump's controlling emotions were rage and contempt, DeSantis's controlling emotions do not exist. He's about policy: he wants control of everything. He won't be making outrageous Trumpian statements punctuated by smarmy anger; he'll be making outrageous Trumpian statements couched in calm and tranquility but no less damaging.
And he's already in control.
In Florida, which some claim has more Burmese pythons than rational voters, he has taken his racist agenda national, even bullying the College Board into diluting its teaching of Black history—in essence, removing everything that portrays Black Americans as having been unremittingly persecuted, presents America as a racist country throughout its 400-year history, or illustrates the continuing slave-mentality that led to Black Lives Matter. Even George Floyd, whose murder and aftermath horrified the country for months, has no room in a DeSantis-controlled curriculum.
Some might find irony in the fact that DeSantis's pronouncements and education victory broke on the same day as the funeral of Tyre Nichols, but irony has nothing to do with timing, and DeSantis leaves little to chance.
When I attended school, I knew very few Black people. I can remember one name from elementary school and a total of two in my parochial high school. Even in the major university I attended, the Black student was the exception. And so it was with some amusement that when I began teaching, the first elective I was assigned was Black Literature. It was the seventies, post-MLK, and post-voting rights, and there was little question that this course was necessary. Most of my students were white, and that was fine because they—and I—needed to know of Douglass and DuBois, Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, and we needed to live in the world of Bigger Thomas. To me, it was all (to borrow from Al Gore) an inconvenient truth, but it was a truth nonetheless that I had somehow missed. I wondered how that had happened, but now I know it was not accidental.
It's 50-odd years later, and once again, ignorance is resurging. And if people like Ron DeSantis have their way, the history of an oppressed minority will be obscured again. However, for those who enjoy irony, there's this: the resurgence will occur just about the time when the term "white majority" becomes a historical curiosity. I won't be around in 2050 to see it, but DeSantis and others who rely on stereotyping and ignorance to replace education and learning will probably have to answer some tough questions then.
He can try taxing Disneyworld again, but that probably works only once.