The Hill We Climb, poem gone!

Amanda Gorman, the American poet who shot to international stardom when she recited The Hill We Climb at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, has vowed to defeat book bans in Florida after the poem was removed for reading by elementary school children in an educational institution in Miami-Dade county.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s blowout victory was powered by his appeal to demographic groups that typically favor Democrats, such as Hispanic and female voters.

DeSantis won 57% of the Hispanic vote, compared with 42% for Democrat Charlie Crist, according to exit polls by major news organizations. And he won not only the traditionally GOP-leaning Cuban-American vote, but Puerto Ricans, who historically tend to vote Democratic.

That 15-point edge with Hispanics is a huge reversal from President Joe Biden’s performance with the group in 2020. Biden won the Hispanic vote in Florida by seven percentage points. DeSantis’s strength with Hispanic voters helped him carry Miami-Dade County, a majority Hispanic county.

One Florida-based Latino voter mobilization group, Mi Vecino, said it predicted the Republican victory in Miami-Dade.

“We’ve been on the ground in Miami every single day for 11 months and the signs were all there — this is the GOP’s 10 year strategy coming to fruition,” said Devon Murphy-Anderson, co-founder of Mi Vecino, in a statement before Tuesday’s results. 

Gorman hit back in a lengthy social media post.

“So they ban my book from young readers, confuse me with Oprah, fail to specify what parts of my poetry they object to, refuse to read any reviews, and offer no alternatives … Unnecessary book bans like these are on the rise, and we must fight back,” she said.

The poet invited supporters to donate to the writer’s group PEN America, which she said had joined her publisher, Penguin Random House, to issue a lawsuit challenging book restrictions in Florida.

Over the past few years, concerns about the rise of fascism in America have become increasingly prominent. This article aims to shed light on the growing trend of fascism, focusing on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his policies, which have been criticized by many as indicative of an authoritarian agenda. While it is essential to approach this topic with caution and objectivity, analyzing the actions and rhetoric of influential figures like Gov. DeSantis can provide insights into the broader discourse surrounding fascism in the United States.

Understanding Fascism

Before delving into Gov. DeSantis’ role, it is crucial to grasp the basic tenets of fascism. Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, strong nationalism, and the belief in the superiority of a particular group. While it can take various forms, fascism tends to curtail individual freedoms, undermine democratic institutions, and promote an exclusionary notion of national identity.

Gov. DeSantis and his Policies

Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, has been at the center of numerous controversies that have raised concerns about his approach to governance. While some may argue that labeling DeSantis as a fascist is an oversimplification, it is essential to analyze the policies and actions that have fueled these concerns.

  1. Restrictive Voting Laws: Gov. DeSantis has supported and signed into law measures that many critics argue disproportionately target minority communities and restrict access to voting. These laws have been seen by some as an attempt to consolidate power and hinder democratic participation, echoing characteristics often associated with fascist regimes.
  2. Suppression of Dissent: DeSantis has shown a tendency to suppress voices of opposition. For instance, his administration implemented a law that penalizes social media platforms for de-platforming political candidates. Critics argue that this move infringes upon private entities’ rights and undermines freedom of expression, an alarming characteristic of fascist regimes.
  3. Anti-Immigration Stance: Gov. DeSantis has adopted a hardline approach towards immigration, including signing a bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities.” While immigration policies can be debated, critics argue that DeSantis’ rhetoric and actions contribute to an exclusionary environment that is reminiscent of fascist ideologies.
  4. Attacks on the Media: Like other populist leaders, Gov. DeSantis has employed rhetoric that undermines the credibility of the media, labeling critical reporting as “fake news.” Such tactics aim to discredit independent journalism and establish a narrative that favors the government’s agenda, aligning with strategies employed by past fascist leaders.

Implications for American Democracy

The rising trend of fascism in America, exemplified by Gov. DeSantis’ policies, poses significant threats to the country’s democratic principles. It is crucial to recognize and address these concerns to ensure the preservation of individual freedoms, human rights, and the integrity of democratic institutions.

Firstly, the restrictive voting laws advocated by Gov. DeSantis and enacted in Florida can undermine the core principle of democratic representation, limiting marginalized communities’ ability to participate in the electoral process. Such laws disproportionately affect minority groups, leading to concerns of voter suppression and potential erosion of democracy.

Secondly, the suppression of dissent, exemplified by the restrictions on social media platforms, hampers free expression and inhibits the healthy exchange of ideas. An inclusive democracy thrives on diverse opinions and robust debate, but when dissent is stifled, the nation risks becoming an echo chamber, where authoritarian tendencies can flourish unchecked.

Thirdly, the adoption of exclusionary immigration policies reinforces divisive narratives, potentially fueling discrimination and xenophobia. The strength of American society lies in its diversity and inclusivity, and policies that isolate and discriminate.