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It’s a funny time to be a new Floridian.
In January our family, very publicly, moved from New York City to south Florida.
Even before our move, it seemed like Florida was more central than ever to the national conversation. Gov. Ron DeSantis had famously taken a different path with COVID restrictions and was under intense scrutiny by the liberal media. Every move the governor made, from insisting parents have the final say whether their child wears a mask in school to hiring a sane and capable Florida surgeon general has garnered a serious amount of attention.
But in the last few weeks, that attention has been on steroids.
It started with the Parental Rights in Education bill, signed into law by the governor last week. In it, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
I have yet to meet anyone in Florida who finds this controversial. I’m in a formerly blue part of the state. My local elected officials are mostly still Democrats. And yet every parent I’ve come across has been supportive of this law. There is no outcry on any of the local Facebook groups.
It seems like the tumult is completely manufactured on a national level by the liberal media that continues to interview only parents opposed to the law.
After Gov. DeSantis signed the parental rights bill, Disney, which had been pressured to speak out against the law just a few days before it was signed, had an internal meeting, the contents of which were leaked to journalist Christopher Rufo. The videos were extremely creepy, with Disney execs openly promising to indoctrinate children into gender theory.
I know several Floridian parents who are either letting their annual pass lapse or canceling trips to Disney and other parents who plan to monitor more closely what Disney produces before letting their kids consume the content.
Most consider this a self-inflicted wound by Disney. They let far-left activists lead the way and this is the result.
There’s a lot of conversation around new arrivals to the state and hoping they “vote the right way.” But, in fact, every new arrival I’ve met has made the journey because they like DeSantis’ policies and wanted to be a part of them. I have taken to joking that I hope the Floridians who have been here all along will “vote right” since they haven’t always in the past.
Floridians know their state will be a focal point for the next few years as at least two, possibly three, Republican presidential candidates will be discussed. All eyes on Florida. They know that much of the national news from their state will be filtered through this lens. They’re ready.