WHY? WHY? WHY?

The death of diversity and equality

George Orwell finished authoring his classic novel 1984 in the year 1948. Orwell was a British writer who composed lucid prose with a tinge of social criticism, professing strong opposition to totalitarianism while supporting democratic socialism. In the grand scheme of things, he was the man with a bright lantern showing us the future. In his book Animal Farm, Orwell pointed out, “The animals conspire to take control of their farm from humans, establishing ‘Animalist’ commandments to prevent the reproduction of the oppressive behavior of humans.”

There you have a not-so-subtle slash at the dictators, demigods and douche bags with narcissistic personality disorders. They desire to control those they believe are “less superior,” viewing them as sinners, seditionists and suckers. If you just believe what they believe and give them the power to manipulate things their way, life will be much better… for them.

Florida is the frontline of the culture wars because there are no checks and balances on the power of one man, the governor. This will surely spread, and there are those who will conspire to take control of their farms, their schools and their cultures and create a great crevasse between those who agree and those who pray to the god of critical thinking and logic.

I had the pleasure of watching the Netflix movie The Wonder, a story about a small village in Ireland that bought into the myth of a young girl being the vehicle of a higher power because she didn’t have to eat. The city leaders, doctors and priests thought this was good for their community and could put the small town on the map. A nurse visiting from London observed the girl to determine the truth. With all the town folk captivated by the illusion, the nurse broke the news to the men who ran the small town that their little angel was only human and must eat to stay alive. The metaphor from this movie is clear; men, religion, power and misguided beliefs of the parents were more important than facts and safety. In this case, a young girl’s life was at stake.

I was struck by one person’s statement in the Florida school board wars, “The schoolboard doesn’t own the kids, the parents do.” Oh really, mothers and fathers “own” their kids? Well, morally, ethically and legally, parents don’t own their kids. Caretakers have a responsibility to keep those kids safe, I get that, but their power stops at the first step of the Constitution.

In the 1969 landmark case, Tinker v. Des Moines, on students’ rights to free speech in public schools, the Supreme Court ruled (7 to 2) that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” So, the idea that a schoolboard can stop any student from expressing themselves goes against the ruling and spirit of free speech. As a student I should be able to declare my personal gender, discuss matters of diversity and equality and doubt whatever so-called “fact” is thrown in their face regardless of whether I am gay, straight, or trans. It’s called education, not indoctrination.

When the far-right claims being around someone different from themselves will somehow force them to adopt that different person’s personal persuasion, they demonstrate a lack of understanding of the power of the human mind. People do only what they want, and even if they are told what they are doing may harm themselves or others, they often continue. Think about all the public service announcements stressing how smoking increases the chance for cancer, yet people keep smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes while 480,000 folks die each year from ailments and diseases caused by cigarettes and smoking. Some of these smokers scream at school board meetings about how the teachers are grooming their kids, while their children are ingesting second hand smoke every day at home. Even worse, some kids will be inspired to adopt their parent’s harmful addiction.

Bridget Ziegler from TheDreamWindow.com

Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Brenda Ziegler as the Chairperson of the Sarasota School Board to rid that body of anyone who disagreed with his draconian laws, policies and prejudices. DeSantis is clearly homophobic, and the equally tainted chairperson was quoted as saying, “homosexuality is evil.” Now on the board, she claims “…there was a toxic culture within the School Board.” Ziegler underscored the unwillingness of some members to respect those with opposing views, but when the chairperson allows a speaker to harass the one member of the board who is openly gay, her lack of regulating hate speech in the chamber is allowing that “toxic culture” to grow. BRENDA ZIEGLER is the problem.

On March 15th of this year, I picked up my daily local paper and read the headline, “Bill prohibits diversity, equality and inclusion on campuses.” I wondered if the headline was an Onion comedy bit, asking myself, “Jeez, what country am I living in?” Shortly after that, one of the most liberal state funded universities fired all the people who worked in their diversity office. In the myopic view of Chief Justice Roberts, we don’t need a law to protect the voting rights of minorities and the disenfranchised, yet the white, mostly male rulers of the land have decided they will control a woman’s body and they will control the speech of students and teachers. Instead of promoting freedom they are prohibiting it.

Ron DeSantis is not the only problem in America. There are at least a dozen ideologs in state governors’ offices who are attempting to roll out restrictions for gays and trans people, while not so secretly censoring the rights of African Americans by banning books and thwarting discussions of slavery and the civil war. When they say they are protecting the feelings of the students, they are really saying, “we need to make sure white students are not burdened with the guilt that comes out of slavery.” REALLY?

This just in from the Washington Post, “Transgender Americans experience stigma and systemic inequality in many aspects of their lives, including education, work and health-care access, a wide-ranging Washington Post-KFF poll finds.” So, it’s only the “normal” kids who get rights. The animals on the farm want to dehumanize the herd.

Donald Trump may have given people the courage to be bigots and total assholes in public, but it’s time to stop the wannabes and dolts who think the Trump playbook is necessary for a more perfect union. They are wrong.

And now, the Governor and the cult in the Florida legislature want to make the “Don’t say Gay” law apply from kindergarten through senior year. If a teacher discusses gender or being gay with their students they can be criminally prosecuted. The fire has been started but the firemen and women are not answering the alarm bell. They are ignoring a danger which has a serious potential to melt our freedoms away. And I have to ask, “Why? Why? Why?”

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