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Thistlethwaite: Will Mickey and Minnie Mouse move to Colorado?

I am glad to hear this for two reasons. First, our grandchildren love Disney World, so it will be closer to home for us. And second, enough is enough with the politics of hate.

Protecting these famous mice became a political issue after Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature took away the special tax status of Disney, the largest employer in Florida. Why? Apparently the Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, angered DeSantis by criticizing the bill critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” measure the Florida governor signed in late March. This measure bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten to third grade classrooms.

DeSantis called Disney a “woke corporation.”

“Woke” is a term used by the far right these days to deride anyone showing empathy and compassion for others. The alternative, in my view, is “sleepwalking into fascism” and that is what Florida is being led to do by DeSantis.

Veteran Florida political consultant Mac Stipanovich notes, “Florida at the moment is subject to one-man rule. Whatever DeSantis wants, the legislature prostrates itself and gives it to him as quickly as he wants it.” Stipanovich wrote, adding, “The same is true of every state agency, and the cities and counties are like the victims of domestic abuse.”

This isn’t democracy. It is positively “Putin-esque” in the structural violence of this kind of political tactic.

DeSantis is driving a “take-no-prisoners” culture war as he prepares to take on Trump in the primaries in 2024. He has called a special session to push through a redistricting plan that is likely to take the state’s current congressional delegation — now comprised of 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats — to a lopsided 20-8 advantage for the GOP.

And DeSantis has defended the state’s move to ban 54 math books that are somehow, bizarrely, guilty of “race essentialism.”

Wait until DeSantis finds out some math can be non-binary.

I applaud Gov. Polis’s push back against the blizzard of hate that is coming out of Florida these days. Politicians are beginning to see they need to be both clever and forceful to combat this drive to undermine democracy and drive us further toward fascism.

“We cannot let hate win,” said Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow in a blistering speech combating the completely unfounded attack in a fundraising email by Sen. Lana Theis, a Republican, that McMorrow wants to “groom and sexualize kindergartners.”

“Groom and sexualize” are code words for the QAnon conspiracy nonsense that Democrats and liberals are part of a vast conspiracy to engage in pedophilia that I have written about previously in the Vail Daily.

Watch Sen. Mallory McMorrow’s speech, which has gone viral, for how to push back in a big way against what is happening to our country with conspiracy and hate speech replacing political exchanges.

“We will not let hate win,” McMorrow said. “Sen. Lana Theis accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up to her marginalizing the LGBTQ community … in a fundraising email. … Hate wins when people stand by and let it happen. I won’t.”

Instead, Sen. McMorrow suggested, “Fix the roads.”

These culture wars perpetrated by the far right are designed to create fear, even hysteria, to hide the lack of actual governance taking place.

I think Gov. Polis and Sen. McMorrow and others who are standing up and speaking out against hate are doing exactly the right thing.

Don’t give an inch on protecting democracy. It is too precious.

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is President Emerita and Professor Emerita of Chicago Theological Seminary. She and her husband now make their home in the Vail Valley.

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