Republicans have learned they can do pretty much whatever they want. No matter how devious and corrupt their actions are, Republicans can do it plain and clear in the open and get away with it. Ron DeSantis has learned from Donald Trump that if you’re the leader of your party, which he is in Florida (for now), the rest of his party will follow. No questions asked.
Florida Republicans sent a map of new congressional districts for Governor (sic) DeSantis to sign. He rejected it and made his own, eliminating two districts with black voting majorities, despite the state receiving two additional seats after the last census. DeSantis’ new map doesn’t just eliminate two black congressional seats but adds four new Republican seats. Florida’s Republican legislature was OK with DeSantis throwing out their map for his, and quickly approved it. Now DeSantis is going to sign the legislation he created. This is fascism.
Now, they’re attacking Disney for criticizing their “Don’t say gay” bill that bans teachers from discussing gay issues or sexual identification in schools. Disney criticized the bill, because it’s stupid and bigoted, and declared it will cease donating to political campaigns in the state. In retaliation, DeSantis and Florida Republicans voted yesterday to eliminate Disney’s self-governing status.
Florida created a law in 1967 giving The Walt Disney Company governmental control over the land in and around its central Florida theme parks. The special-purpose district gave Disney the responsibility for providing municipal services like power, water, roads, and fire protection, but freed the company from dealing with legal red tape or paying taxes for services that benefited the broader public.
Florida gave this special designation to Disney in exchange for the company making the state the base of Disney World and attracting millions of tourists. In 1967, Florida needed Disney more than Disney needed Florida. But as we’ve all come to learn, Republicans are backstabbers.
A self-governing status isn’t a privilege just for Disney in Florida. There are over 200 of these corporate self-governing districts in the state, like The Villages.
The Villages is a corporate-owned retirement community with a population of 80,000 angry Republican-voting seniors. Remember that video of an old fuck in a golf cart wearing pro-Trump gear and screaming “white power” at Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020? That was in The Villages. Donald Trump, who is the only president to visit The Villages twice, tweeted the video thanking The Villages. Anyway, The Villages, where old white people scream racist chants, votes overwhelmingly Republican. The vote for Trump over Biden in 2020 was over 70 percent in The Villages. So, you don’t see Republicans eliminating The Villages’ self-governing status, which makes it clear their vote against Disney’s status isn’t because they’re against self-governing districts.
This vote is merely about revenge and being butthurt. It’s obvious, it’s clear, and it’s out in the open. The only way not to see how petty and vile this action really is is by refusing to see it. They’re voting against a corporation that just said they’re not going to give the party and its candidates money anymore. This is fascism. This is a cult.
Republicans are forgetting that Disney helped build Florida. Their punishment of Disney is punishing the state, but Republicans will cut off their nose to spite their face. And, they don’t think long term. Case in point: Taking away this self-governing district will leave a debt hanging for taxpayers in Orange and Osceola counties to pick up, perhaps to the tune of over $2,000 per household. Remember, Republicans are supposed to be the party that cuts taxes.
Republicans voted to eliminate the self-governing district before working out all the details. They’re leaving that job for the next legislative session. Ever buy something with payments you can’t afford but think, “I’m sure I’ll figure out how to make those payments…which start next month. But look how shiny my new toy is.” That’s what Florida Republicans just did. Hitting Disney is the shiny toy they couldn’t wait to hit and show their base what they’ve done. It’s so shiny.
I’m curious if Florida’s increasingly right-leaning MAGA voters are going to look at their next tax bill and say, “I’m happy to pay this because Disney is a bunch of groomers.” Will they believe the principles of attacking a company just because they pissed off one man, Ron DeSantis, is worth them each paying over $2,000? I really don’t know because Florida Republicans are stupid. I’m sure DeSantis will find a way to blame that bill on Democrats, Disney, and pedophiles.
The legislation killing Disney’s self-governing status doesn’t mention Disney. It only designates the special districts created before 1968. Of course, there was only one special self-governing district in Florida before 1968.
Sometimes doing the right thing is costly, like Disney taking a stand and speaking out against Republican homophobia. And other times, doing the wrong thing is very expensive. Except, it may not be expensive for Republicans…just the people who voted for them.
Music Note: While drawing today’s cartoon, I listened to the Four Seasons, Dion, Del Shannon, and The Drifters.
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