Within the last year, Florida has quickly become a veritable political battleground as Governor Ron DeSantis has been on a roll trying to legislatively force the state into becoming something of an “Anti-Woke Fortress.” From tightening restrictions on education to stop Progressives from “brainwashing” kids, to attacking workers unions and making it more difficult for workers to organize and for unions to thrive, to chipping away at the rights of the LGBTQIA community, and more; it’s clear that DeSantis is looking to win as many “brownie points” as possible with Right-Wing Americans as he looks to toss his hat into the ring of 2024 presidential candidates for the Republican Party.
One of the greatest ironies of DeSantis’s actions — and indeed other Republican leaders across the nation, especially in the south, who are seeking to tighten their grip in our so-called “culture wars” — is that much of what he has been doing amounts to “governmental overreaching.” In other words: “Big Government,” the very thing that the GOP is (supposedly) against.
The area of DeSantis’s “crusade” where this has been especially prominent is in his battle with the Walt Disney Company over the Disney World major amusement and theme park in Orlando. Now, we here at The Valley Labor Report are no fans of the Walt Disney Company; quite the opposite. But that’s not the point here.
“This episode shows how Republicans are not ideologically ‘small government,’” remarked Jacob Morrison, while hosting a broadcast of The Valley Labor Report a few weeks ago. “They are not ideologically opposed to state power, which is something that working folks know and understand, and particularly working people who fight for better working conditions and better lives for themselves and their families and their communities. But it’s something that a lot of people like to pretend is not true.”
Republicans have long described themselves as being against “Big Government,” and generally against state power. And yet they have demonstrated that claim to be a farce, time and time again, as is the case with this fight between the Florida Government and Disney. Normally, workers might applaud governmental efforts to fight against big corporations, especially since workers at Disney World have been vocalizing and protesting quite a bit in the last few months about the resort and park’s work ethics, or lack thereof. But of course, DeSantis’s motivation for attacking the mega-corporation has absolutely nothing to do with the workers or even for their benefit in any form.
“DeSantis is really leveraging the power of the State of Florida against this corporation,” Jacob continued. “But he’s not doing it because of low wages; he’s not doing it because of unsafe working conditions; he’s not doing it because the corporation is infringing on their workers' actual constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. DeSantis is using state power because he reckons this corporation is a bit 'too nice to the gays.' And that’s just really freaking gross.”
Once again, Republicans in power proving that they are not opposed to using state power to enforce their opinions and ideologies. They aren’t against “Big Government,” they are only against a “Blue Government.” As long as it’s red, they couldn’t be happier to utilize state and federal powers to enact their own agenda.
“They are only opposed to the utilization of state power when that utilization of state power benefits working people,” Jacob remarked. “If we’re talking about using state power to raise wages, to make working conditions safer, to empower workers to fight for themselves, to make sure that tenants are not abused by their landlords, then they’re all like ‘Small government! Small government! Small government!’ But [with Disney] they’re willing to do this, because this corporation is just a bit too 'gay-friendly.'”
Watch the full discussion about DeSantis's war with Disney on YouTube: