How did Ron DeSantis get to be so weird?

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How did Ron DeSantis get to be so weird?


If you thought Ron DeSantis stumbling around debate stages in what looked like a pair of high heels, attempting and failing to resemble a human being when he smiles, and being hyper-focused on other people’s genitals is weird, wait until you find out how DeSantis wants to spend a million dollars of Florida taxpayer money.

DeSantis, who has never encountered a stupid controversy he can’t ramp up to 11, is now asking the State of Florida for $1 million dollars state budget funds to sue the College Football Playoff Committee for snubbing undefeated Florida State. Legally, Florida would have about as much standing as Indiana lawmakers who made noises about suing the NCAA over shoddy refereeing when Indiana lost to Duke in the Final Four my freshman year of college, but lack of legal, moral or constitutional standing has never stopped DeSantis when there is grandstanding over something stupid.

In justifying spending his constituents’ hard-earned tax dollars over something as frivolous as the college football playoffs, DeSantis defended himself by saying, “My first-grader, my fifth-grader and my preschooler . . . they are all ‘noles and they are big-time fans and they do the tomahawk chop and they were not happy,” DeSantis told the Associated Press. “We are going to set aside $1 million and let the chips fall where they may.”

Actually, DeSantis allowing a fifth-grader to influence his political agenda explains a ton. And teaching your kids that doing the tomahawk chop is a normal and definitely non-racist thing to do will definitely serve them well into adulthood, Ron. And yes, I know about Florida State’s agreement with the Seminole Tribe. The problem is, most sports teams do not have agreements with indigenous people, and the chop gets exported to places like Arrowhead Stadium and Truist Park, and even when Native Americans protest and express their outrage, white fans just shrug their shoulders and insist it’s not racist. Kind of like when they boo a children’s choir singing the Black National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

But back to Ron.

DeSantis, when he’s not on right-wing podcasts or freaking out over drag queens, is ostensibly the governor of Florida. Here are some things about Florida that should weigh into his decision to spend more than 20 times the salary of an average Floridian on being mad about football.

  • 45 percent of Floridians are living at or below the ALICE poverty line;
  • 18 percent of Florida’s children live below the federal poverty line;
  • More than 95,000 homeless children were enrolled in Florida’s public schools in 2019
  • 342,000 children were medically uninsured in Florida in 2019
  • 87 percent of children receiving free or reduced-price lunch during the 2018-2019 school year did not participate in Summer Nutrition Programs in 2019;
  • Florida is among the 10 states that accounted for half of all child gun deaths in the last 10 years

All of those issues seem a much better way to spend a million dollars than political posturing over college football, a move meant to appeal to DeSantis’ book-banning, trans-kid molesting, history-rewriting base. Hey, Ron, how about taking a million dollars and using it to shore up AP African American Studies classes in public high schools?

The thing about DeSantis, though, is that he doesn’t actually care about spending a million bucks arguing about college football. For all his podium pounding and rabble-rousing, DeSantis knows his request for funds is merely a suggestion to Florida’s legislature, who won’t actually start negotiations on a budget until January 9, 2024, the day after the national champion is crowned. By that time, the CFP will be over and everyone will have forgotten about DeSantis’ craven political ploy. So DeSantis gets to jump up and down in his weird little cowboy boots and scream about the injustice of it all without having to actually risk anything, which is sort of his thing.

And anyway, DeSantis has bigger things to worry about, like Nikki Haley handing him his ass in the Republican debates and the fact that his hand-picked board member to oversee Disney (insert eye roll emoji), who heavily focused on restricting how sexual orientation can be taught in school, and who stood next to DeSantis while he signed Florida’s abominable “Don’t Say Gay” law, turned out to be in a secret threesome with her husband and another woman. (It’s Not Gay If It’s A Three-Way!) Her husband is now accused of sexually assaulting the other woman in the throuple, and has refused DeSantis’ call to step down from his job. Did I mention his job is chairman of Florida’s Republican Party? Meanwhile, there is flesh-eating bacteria on Florida’s beaches, the lower third of the state is expected to be underwater by the year 2100, and don’t even get me started on what goes on in The Villages.

Then again, maybe screaming into the void about football is DeSantis’ best play.





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Julie DiCaro