I’ve made some progress on the Road to Normieville. There were no elections in our neck of the woods, so we watched the World Series last night like regular sportsball fans and didn’t see a single nanosecond of election coverage. Well, now I have seen it, and sweet tap-dancing Jeebus, I’m not sure what to make of it.
Looks like Murphy will win in a squeaker in New Jersey, and thank dog for that, but it wasn’t supposed to be this close. Did anyone see the upset in Buffalo coming? (Gov. Kathy Hochul, probably!) It’s not a loss for the party because the incumbent who looks like he’ll win via a write-in campaign was (and still is, I guess?) a Democrat before he lost the primary, but wowzers!
I am truly sorry for our Virginians who are now stuck with Gov. Trumpkin. Welcome to the club no one wants to join: Democrats governed by terrible Republicans. Also, keep an eye on your schools. Last night was a beta test for the strategy of running against imaginary white people problems in K-12 public education, but the GOP has already rolled it out everywhere. I think they’re following the Orbán playbook.
After imposing an ideological curriculum on elementary and secondary schools to support his nationalist agenda, Orbán subverted higher ed next. I don’t know what GOP governors are doing on that score in other red states, but DeSantis is following the script to the letter and has successfully cowed and co-opted my alma mater, the University of Florida, to its everlasting shame. Worse news dropped yesterday:
An effort by the University of Florida to deny professors the ability to testify in litigation against the state extends beyond the previously known political-science faculty members, whose restrictions were revealed in a court filing on Friday. Administrators denied requests from a fourth professor who had asked to participate in litigation supporting mask mandates against Florida in August, too, The Chronicle first reported Tuesday. He said he would not have been compensated for this participation.
The professor, the pediatrician Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, was asked to testify and serve as a declarant in litigation that followed Gov. Ron DeSantis’s executive order that forbade mask mandates in schools as the Delta variant of Covid-19 tore through the state. Goldhagen is chief of the division of community and societal pediatrics at the University of Florida‘s College of Medicine, in Jacksonville, and a professor in pediatric palliative care. Goldhagen said he would have spoken about why masks work and why children need protection from the virus…
“It’s not just me being denied the ability to testify,” [Goldhagen] said. “It’s about the role and responsibility of the university, it’s about truth, it’s about ethics, it’s about morality, it’s about the capacity of a single person or a small group of people to basically discount and dismantle the mission of a university.”
Like Trump when he was in power and Orbán now, DeSantis sees himself rather than citizens as “the state” and therefore feels entitled to personally control state resources, including experts at state universities. If this outrageous power play isn’t stopped, it won’t end well, not for the university and certainly not for Floridians. Watch for Governor Trumpkin to attempt the same in Virginia.
I won’t sugar coat it, friends: these are discouraging and scary times, especially for those of us in red states. I think it’s possible the national mood will brighten before next fall — so much that’s out of the government’s control is weighing us down, including the lingering pandemic, supply chain issues, etc. I hope the Democrats in Congress can pass some legislation that will help, plus hold the coup plotters accountable. If we can do that, and if we are prepared and vigilant, I think we can turn it around.