I live in Florida. Ron DeSantis is my governor. Woe is me!


His latest demonstration of authoritarianism: blackmailing the Special Olympics.

In closing my story yesterday, Just when you think the GOP can’t any get worse, it gets worse, I posed several questions. One of those questions was this:

How do you feel about our great country when your fellow citizens continue to elect people like Steube, Brooks and Long, not to mention Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Greg Abbot and Ted Cruz, among many, many others?

One of the “many, many others” I omitted was the governor of my own state, Florida’s Ron DeSantis. My omission wasn’t an oversight; I simply felt that because I write about DeSantis so often, the takeaway might be a shrug and something like, “Block complaining about DeSantis? There he goes again?

Ruth Ben-Giat

Then this morning I read the daily email I receive from Ruth Ben-Giat, Dr. Ben-Giat is a scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders and a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University. Her piece today was entitled, Ron DeSantis Sends an Authoritarian Message: Submit To Me Or Else

Dr. Ben-Giat’s piece focuses on DeSantis’ latest authoritarian overreach, threatening the Special Olympics, which is holding its 2022 USA competition in Orlando, with a $27.5 million fine if it didn’t rescind its vaccine mandate, which the organization “considers necessary for its vulnerable populations.”

As Dr. Ben-Giat writes,

DeSantis, a scientific savant, claimed that the vaccine mandates were unnecessary because ‘a lot of these special Olympians have also had Covid by now. Most people have had it by now.’ Perhaps the governor doesn’t know that people can become reinfected  with coronavirus. In any event, this was always about politics, not public welfare. ‘We’ve never seen something wielded like this vaccine to try to marginalize disfavored people,’ DeSantis said, returning to his favorite theme of the federal government’s dictatorial ways.

Needless to say, with their backs against the wall, the Special Olympics had to comply.

Going on, she opines,

“DeSantis displays many traits of authoritarian-minded leaders, and one of the most disastrous is their insatiable appetite for power. This means that they persecute and harass increasing numbers of people as they strive to satisfy their desire to control everyone and everything.

“This is why, along with the usual GOP targets (the LBGTQ community, Blacks, and immigrants) we find DeSantis going after the Special Olympics. That’s not the move you make if you care about being seen as decent, but it’s the move you make if you want to be feared.” 

Some other recent DeSantis targets, Dr. Ben-Giat points out, have been Disney, for speaking out against his “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team for “having the temerity to express sadness about the recent mass shooting of children in Texas–and for making a $50,000 donation to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support fund. Opposing GOP gun rights policies earned the team a veto of their planned $35 million baseball complex.”

Dr. Ben-Giat concludes:

“And here we arrive at the common denominator of the governor’s positions and the most telling measure of his authoritarian ways: his cruelty to vulnerable groups in our society, who already face discrimination and worse without DeSantis punishing anyone who shows solidarity with them. Thus does a humane comment after a mass shooting of children become dangerous ‘activism.’”

Ron DeSantis is running for reelection in November. He has a much better than even shot to win. A win in Florida in 2022 will put him in a very favorable position to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination for president in 2024 or, if Trump won’t or can’t run (one can only hope that he can’t because he will be by then, finally, a convicted felon), the favorite to take the nomination.

So, I conclude with an restatement of my question, amended.

How do you feel about our great country when your fellow citizens continue to elect people like Ron DeSantis?

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

5 thoughts on “I live in Florida. Ron DeSantis is my governor. Woe is me!

  1. If this is a repeat comment, please delete it, Ted. But I wrote a comment a while ago and it has not appeared yet. (Or just delete this line and the other comment, depending on which you like best.) It went something like this:
    How can anyone feel anything but total disgust for an inhumane power-hungry megalomaniac like Ron DeSantis? The man uses people for his own gain, and cares not one whit about the harm and suffering he leaves in his wake. I cannot believe Florida has so many stupid voters willing to believe his lies, nor that THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE IN FLORIDA to send his ass back to the snake pit it came out of. I vomit at his name, Ron DeSantis, it should be Ron the Insane. There is no sanity in what he does, or how he does it.
    I wish Special Olympics had moved the Games somewhere responsible, rather than bow to his threats. He does not care about Special Olympians, or most anyone else for that matter. If there is a new outbreak of Covid during the Games, if athletes, officials, administrators, fans, or ESPECIALLY VOLUNTEERS come down with Covid, I hope someone sues his unsorry ass, and the Government of Florida, for $27.5 BILLION. And add a murder charge for each and every person who dies of Covid caught at the Games, though hopefully no one will, no thanks to his insanity.


  2. “How do you feel … when your fellow citizens continue to elect people like Ron DeSantis?”

    It’s often said that countries / states / people get the government they deserve. This seems tobe what many Americans either want, or are willing to accept.

    This is what it looks like when winning by any means, is more important than doing the hard work of governing the country ‘for the people’ … all 330M of them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: