Andy Marlette: Gov. Ron DeSantis makes pawns of the stupid and scared
With all due respect to my fellow white folks, Gov. Ron DeSantis' doomed and deceptively named "anti-riot" bill is a con-job that only stupid or scared white people would fall for. And unfortunately, Florida has its fair share of both.
Why stupid? Because anyone who falls for the so-called "anti-riot" bill is too dumb to know that everything the law purports to prevent is already illegal in the state of Florida. Destroying property? Already illegal! Attacking law enforcement officers? Already illegal! Riots? Guess what? Riots are already illegal.
And of course they are. Any Florida Man with half his teeth should know that.
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Touting this kind of bill is like bragging about passing a new Florida law to prevent the use of manatees, alligators and orange juice in erotic fetish filmmaking. We don't need a law to prevent that. It's already illegal to use manatees and alligators in your erotic films. The orange juice thing is probably fine. I haven't personally seen it, but I'm sure someone out there has given it a whirl.
But the point is, Floridians don't need politicians wasting time and money to create new laws to prevent things that are already illegal.
That's why DeSantis is counting on stupid people to buy into his con-job about preventing "riots." Because only stupid people would be dumb enough to believe that before the dawn of Ron almighty, the threat of "riots" (much like the threat of manatee and alligator erotica) was some lurking menace unrestrained by the limits of Florida law. Stupid.
And why scared people? Because only hopelessly and irrationally fearful Floridians would believe that the so-called "anti-riot" bill protects them from something that in reality, didn't even happen during widespread peaceful protests in Florida last year, which is when DeSantis started squawking about this half-baked law in the first place.
But that's how weak leaders and insecure men work — by trying to scare others into submission, even if it requires manufacturing fears are completely unfounded by facts and reality.
Once again, it would be like warning citizens that if we don't pass a law against manatee and alligator erotica, that you may unwittingly end up entangled in an amorous encounter with both aquatic creatures at the same time, and that's probably a terrifying proposition for a number of reasons.
Is an erotic encounter with aquatic beasts a scary scenario if you sit around and worry about it? Of course. (Although, I'm sure Florida has a few weirdos out there who would choose to spend a randy Friday night that way if they could.)
But is getting trapped in an alligator-manatee ménage really something we need to spend our time being frightened of? Of course not. Because: 1. It almost never happens. And 2. It's already illegal!
Common sense and reality are why DeSantis specifically targets scared and stupid white people to buy into his so-called "anti-riot" bill. And why white people?
Because the law is built on the lie that Black people are scary. It was born specifically in response to last year's Black Lives Matter protests and the murder of George Floyd and it was woven from the lie that those protests represented something white Americans need to fear and fight against.
It's built on the lie that public protests against a now-convicted murderer like Derek Chauvin were a civic gateway into burning buildings and blood in the streets.
It's built on the lie that in the struggle to actualize God's justice within our mortal legal systems, that white people are inherently separate from the young Black people who have had no recourse but to stand in the streets and demand justice.
It's built on the lie that Black people are a threat to white people.
Strip away the bureaucratic ceremonial signings. Strip out the Orwellian rationalizations of authority. Strip down the myth of "riots" in Florida cities. And the shriveled, naked lie is all that's left.
And that is DeSantis' deception, an old, exhaustingly unoriginal public swindle.
It is precisely the lie that Bob Dylan skinned, gutted and embalmed when he sang:
Fellow white folks, don't fall for it. Do not be a pawn.
Fellow Floridians, we've got to know better.
We do not have to serve as the designated dupes of a dishonest governor. We do not have to let Ron DeSantis fertilize the fruits of his greed and ambition with fear and foolishness.
A federal lawsuit has already been filed against the new "anti-riot" for violating the U.S. Constitution. The governor will spend taxpayer money to justify the doomed and dishonest bill. We've all seen how this story ends and who bears the costs. After all, white taxpayers and Black taxpayers all pay for the governor's legal fees. How's that for racial harmony?
But just remember, no matter what happens to this law, and no matter what becomes of politicians like Ron DeSantis, folks who are Black and white and brown from the Panhandle on down through the peninsula are all bound together by the fact that there's one thing we can all fight and fear far more than than protests and demonstrations, one common enemy that all Floridians can stand united against, one threat that is even more terrifying than the specter of "riots" in our streets...
And that's manatee and alligator erotica!