Florida’s state legislature is currently debating a new culture war bill, SM 1382, designed to create the illusion that our country’s military needs to be fixed since allowing gays into the military.
The bill is framed as “a memorial to the Congress of the United States,” and assumes that our country’s Department of Defense is no longer interested in promoting its personnel based on merit. So while it is technically a bill, in practice it is a whining admonition which posits the myth that the U.S. military is made up of Black people, LGBTQ+ people, and brown people, stealing away white American soldiers’ jobs—or something.
On Monday, Republican state Rep. Jeff Holcomb gave a speech in support of the bill, first rambling inarticulately about how things used to be in the military before all that “woke” stuff, then saying that our military isn’t discriminatory because when the Taliban was murdering gay Afghanis, the United States military bombed them.
How does this prove anything? It doesn’t. But Holcomb saved the best for last, drawing gasps from Democratic lawmakers by saying, “Our terrorist enemies hate homosexuals more than we do.”
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Holcomb seems to enjoy covering up abject bigotry and corruption, hiding under the guise of “security.” Last month, he sponsored a bill that would retroactively make Gov. Ron DeSantis’ use of planes for travel exempt from public records. This exemption would include any travel the Florida Governor paid for (including people he may have loaned a plane to) with taxpayer money as well. All existing public records of Gov. DeSantis’ travel would be collected and scuttled away in secrecy. Let Mr. Holcomb explain this one to you:
“There could be situations where the governor comes to various parts of Florida, whether it’s to present a bill, meet with various constituents…but that information is out there for various public records requests, and that information could then, with enough time and enough digging and enough effort, might be able to get the security profile of that structure or that building,”
The Florida-based DeSantis wing of the Republican Party is the same as the Trump wing of the Republican Party is the same as the Dan Crenshaw wing of the Republican Party. Its only policy initiatives are discriminatory and meant to assuage the fears of a waning white Christian superiority in the United States. They offer no solutions to problems—even those white Christians face.
It is the reason the only military personnel conservative operatives seem to like are the ones busted for trying to change the results of our national elections. That’s the whole game for them at this point.
Can we have fairer, more representative elections in the U.S.? Absolutely, says Deb Otis on this week's episode of "The Downballot." Otis, the director of research at FairVote, tells us about her organization's efforts to advocate for two major reforms—ranked-choice voting and proportional representation—and the prospects for both. RCV, which is growing in popularity, not only helps ensure candidates win with majorities but can lower the temperature by encouraging cross-endorsements. PR, meanwhile, would give voters a stronger voice, especially when they're a minority in a dark red or dark blue area.
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