Florida’s Dystopia

Bobby Henry Sr.

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr. –Changes are happening across the United States and the world in the natural environment, the political and economic systems, and in our social systems. Taken together these changes usher up dystopia that exists elsewhere taking up shop in the United States. What is dystopia and what are the forces that propel it? Can those we elect do anything to protect us?

Dystopia defined is a society characterized by intense human depravation, great suffering, and injustice controlled by totalitarian and dictatorial systems. Entities like the Republican Party in the U.S. promote war, racism, sexism, and white supremacy promote an end to social security, environmental protection,  continued burning of fossil fuels while they clearly exacerbate global warming,  end to federally subsidized housing programs, and closing U.S. national boundaries to the poor and people of color immigrants whose environments and economies have been wrecked by U.S. foreign and military policy. Refuges from collapsed oppressive societies are turned away from U.S. borders. They flee failed economies, especially in Central America, that are controlled by gangs.

Additionally, our natural environment is out of balance.  Severe storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, fires, and drought escalate here and worldwide. Neighborhoods are ravaged with little federal assistance.

In Florida rents often amount to sixty to seventy-five percent of poor family’s income. Homeowners and tenants cannot afford electricity, food, childcare, medicine, and education. Women have lost the right to control their bodies and make decisions to carry pregnancies to term at the cost of their lives. Teachers have lost the right to decide what history they can teach. It is now illegal in places like Florida to protest. Our U.S. national government is often gridlocked between antidemocratic Republicans who want tax cuts for the rich and Democrats that want the rich to pay taxes from their enormous wealth to support social security, healthcare, education, and other human needs.

Given these trends, the question is how long it will take for the misery and pain imposed on oppressed people elsewhere rival Florida’s dystopia.

Florida ground zero in the battle to save democracy and the hopes of a society where human needs are met. That battle will accelerate as Governor Ron DeSantis proceeds to present what he has done in Florida:  take away democratic rights and prepare America for the same.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ accomplishments in Florida are described as dystopian. His MAGAlitas has banned books, threatened and  locked up people for voting, and has imposed a 6 week ban on abortions. DeSantis, now endorsed by Elon Musk at Twitter and Telsa for president in 2024. Right wing politicians indicate DeSantis has the prescription for the intractable issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and a weak capitalism.  His answer for America and the world is massive repression.

Where do progressive Floridians go from here? Why did most voting Floridians embrace this dystopian approach. How effective was the approach of people of color, women, democratic, community, religious, and labor who opposed DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio? What went wrong?

These are a few questions that must be answered in a dialogue with leaders across Florida and the nation. There are alarming historical precedents.

Between 1896 and 1906 Black and progressive communities lost the right to vote. The process started in 1876 with the removal of federal troops from the South that protected the rights of Blacks. Across the rural South education for Black children ceased to exist. Hospitals for Blacks did not exist outside major cities. Black employment did not exist in major industries. Lynching of Blacks was public without recourse.

We must be grateful that the Republican red tidal wave of the House of Representatives did not happen. In an off-year election historic numbers of people voted. Republicans have a slim majority that may be led by MAGAlitas. Democrats may have a slim majority in the Senate and if Rev. Warnock is re-elected in Georgia; senate democrats may have a slight edge. It is clear that despite voter suppression, some states are experiencing significant voter increases.

Republicans fund anti-democratic causes every day of the year. Democrats must invest in community organizing to make strong the base for expanding the vote.  The hope is that we must meet the challenge in Florida by organizing to get affordable housing and rent control, laws to protect a woman’s right to decide her healthcare, freedom of teachers to teach American history, expand the vote to ex-offenders, to have gender affirming care, and much more.

Article first appeared via: www.thewestsidegazette.com/floridas-dystopia/

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