In a scorching column in the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago brutally called out Florida Gov. Don DeSantis (R) for the latest piece of legislation that he has signed which she called just another step down the path to fascism as he sets himself up for a White House run in 2024.
As the columnist notes, DeSantis has signed a bill he demanded that would, in essence, criminalize protesting in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution.
Santiago notes, “Florida lawmakers have assaulted and trampled the U.S. Constitution during this legislative session like the state hasn’t seen since Jim Crow days. Every bill, every strategy was already cooked, party-ready, at the behest of the state’s maximum leader, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis,” before adding, “DeSantis is, after all, channeling his political mentor, Donald Trump, and following his bombastic, destructive script to reelection next year, and onward, to the White House in 2024, perhaps.”
Focusing on the bill, the columnist notes that any Floridian caught up in a protest against DeSantis’s polices –or malfeasance by the police — could quickly find themselves in jail without bail for “rioting.”
Writing “DeSantis and his enablers turn the Constitution into a pliable document, chipped away by legislating at the state level in order to win elections, then so be it,” the columnist added, “If, in the process, DeSantis quacks like a racist, that’s just the price of doing business with the base.”
Pointing out that DeSantis “surrounded by more than a dozen white men and women” signed the bill as America awaited the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, Santiago explained that the state can expect to be hauled into court as civil rights attorneys have a field day challenging the law.
“Without an ounce of sensitivity, DeSantis assaults the rights of Floridians to protest, presiding over a major crackdown on free speech, delivered by the acquiescent, overwhelmingly Republican Legislature via the HB 1 bill — their No. 1 priority after more than a year of a pandemic. Coming in a close second: voter suppression,” she accused. “Who’s going to go to a protest knowing that if a few protesters get violent or more rowdy than police feel like tolerating — and you get caught in the melee — you’ll be carted off to jail, charged with a felony and held without bail like a murderer? What low-income minority resident who works — and they’re the ones holding down essential jobs tied to a schedule — is going to risk losing a job to stand in hours-long lines when they find themselves without a mail-in ballot?”
“In his quest for absolute power, the Ivy League-educated governor, a lawyer, forgets the law of the land isn’t that of his scribes in the Legislature, but the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787. Bring on the civil-rights lawyers,” she wrote before concluding. “Florida needs them to show the governor who’s boss.”
You can read the whole piece here.