Racism has come home to roost in the Florida Capitol. The GOP is shocked that this is the fault of their bill
Florida lawmakers have gotten a taste of the bigotry their legislation helped legitimize during the past two years of the war against so-called “woke” culture.
The latest effort, a bill that would prevent local governments from removing historic landmarks, appeared to falter after a heated Senate committee hearing on Tuesday. The bill would ban local elected officials Who requested the removal of Confederate statuesThese officials were threatened with fines of up to $1,000 and possible civil lawsuits.
It took one comment from a supporter of the bill to break the façade Senate Bill 1122 It’s just about preserving history. While some lawmakers may think that’s what they’re doing, they can’t ignore the message they’re sending to racists and white supremacists.
The message is that the Legislature will protect the wishes of people who want to celebrate the Confederacy that fought to preserve slavery at the expense of black Floridians who see it as a symbol of hate.
During public comment, one supporter of the bill said the movement to remove Confederate monuments “is part of the cultural war being waged against the white community.” The comment made by an audience member upset not only Democrats, who stormed out of the committee room in protest before the vote, but also Republicans. Another speaker said that if Native Americans discovered they had “standing” to remove Spanish statues in places like St. Augustine, there wouldn’t be any statues in the state.
Republican Senator Jennifer Bradley said, “The comments I heard today…were bigoted and racist.” “And you’re the reason I’m undecided about whether to vote yes or no. Because I seem to endorse your hatred, and I don’t.”
However, Bradley still voted “yes” on the bill, as did every other Republican on the Senate Community Affairs Committee, including Chairman Alexis Calatayud, of Miami, who was taken aback by the “white culture” comment and told the audience that the bill’s supporters Others disagree with his position.
But after the committee hearing, Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo put the bill’s fate into question.
“There are problems with the bill,” Pasdomo said. “More than that, there are perception problems among our caucus, on all sides… I will not introduce a bill that is distasteful to everyone.”
We give Passidomo credit for reading the room, but her actions are more important than her words. To be sure, there are problems — a lot of them — with the bill, starting with its conception. This is not the type of legislation that can be fixed by amendment. We must allow it to wither and die.
People have different feelings about removing Confederate monuments, and certainly some of those who want to preserve them are not white nationalists. There is valid debate about how far communities should go in removing monuments to historical figures who owned slaves or held hateful racist views.
The problem with this bill is that it denies local governments the authority to make those decisions based on the desires of their communities. In December, Jacksonville Mayor That’s 30% blackHe ordered the Confederate statue removed from the park. A few months earlier, the city had been the scene of a mass shooting in which three black people were killed because of their race.
Despite tragedies like these (or the 2015 Charleston Black church shooting by a white supremacist Who took pictures with the Confederate flag), Florida lawmakers are insisting on pushing legislation like SB 1122 or the “Stop WOKE Act,” which has limited classroom teaching about racism. Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to properly denounce the neo-Nazi rallies that have occurred in Central Florida over the past two years.
This may not have been their intention, but the Florida Legislature and DeSantis have emboldened the racists. This is what critics warn about all the time. Now that racism has reared its ugly head publicly — and in their faces — perhaps Republicans will understand what they have unleashed.
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(tags for translation) Confederate monuments