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The Clocks Are Striking Thirteen in Florida

Let us begin here with a quote from George Orwell's 1984:

This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs—to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction.

So, that's rewriting the past to make sure it comports with the views of the dominant political party, and removing any books or other materials that challenge the party line. Orwell knew of what he spoke, having witnessed the rise and progression of Nazism, Italian fascism and Stalinism. And, as he wrote the book in 1949, he was concerned it could happen again.

Well, guess what? It's happening again, in Florida. As readers know, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has taken a great interest in the education of the state's students. Or, perhaps we should say their reeducation. The DeSantis-instigated House Bill 1467 requires that the books available to Florida students be pornography-free, apolitical, age-appropriate and "suited to student needs." To appear in a classroom, books must be approved by someone who has received training from the state in what is, and is not, acceptable.

The thing is, Big Brother... er, DeSantis, is great at stunts that own the libs. But he's terrible at followthrough. And so, specific guidelines for the book-vetting training were not made available until just a few weeks ago. The deadline for book review is just weeks away. Consequently, teachers in multiple districts have been warned that they had better remove all non-approved books from their classroom, or else wrap them in paper until they are vetted, at risk of facing felony prosecution for distributing "harmful materials to minors." That particular crime carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and 5 years in prison.

Of course, there are many books in schools. And again, time is short. So, how will all this vetting get done? Have no fear, the state is hard at work recruiting and training people who are highly qualified for the work. And by "people who are highly qualified," we mean "people who hate wokeness, even if they don't really know what that means." Here, for example, is a webpage meant to attract volunteers in the state's Manatee County:

It says: Community Patriots
Manatee, Woke Buster's Wanted. Calling all Woke Busters to Action! We ALL have skin in this game. Whether your a Tax
Payer, Parent, Grandparent, or Community Member, the society that is trying to be created by this deranged wokeness is
nothing more than Mental Abuse for Children which WILL ultimately lead into Physical Abuse! We all must do our part to
SAVE the CHILDREN and OUR Society!

Undoubtedly, readers will agree that having people who have not mastered the correct use of apostrophes, or the difference between "your" and "you're," are ideal candidates for something like this.

All we can say here is the same thing we say whenever we write an item like this: DeSantis is a very frightening man. His willingness to use state power to impose his views on people is deeply concerning. The fact that he doesn't really care about those views, and is actually just interested in the vulgar pursuit of power, is arguably even more concerning. If he ends up as the GOP presidential candidate, there will be more than a few commercials featuring Florida students talking about how their educations were "improved" by DeSantis' actions. Will those commercials connect with voters? Probably, but we really don't know. (Z)

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