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The time is now

By Staff | May 26, 2021

To the editor:

Any parent who has known the stabbing heartache of seeing their child picked last for the team, or worse, not picked at all; should be ashamed of the state legislature in Florida.

In yet another GOP assault on women and girls, the party has legislated that, since the misogynist logic of the GOP dictates that boys are better than girls; transgendered youth should be barred from participation in school athletics as female.

As with the rest of the GOP party’s prurient fascination with female anatomy, the premise that females must be legislated and controlled is based on a lie of inferiority and an ugly urge for control where it is unnecessary.

There were 11 affected children who participate in sports now that the Florida legislation has brought the full brunt of its grandeur and power to chase out of school sports. Many other GOP-dominated state legislations are considering similar mean-spirited attacks. This legislation stands to cost millions of dollars in revenue to the state in boycotts and lost opportunities.

Like the legislation this GOP-led Florida legislature passed to suppress voting rights for citizens of the USA this is a vulgar moment of legislative prowess used to vent hostility that no one asked for. It addresses no outcry for public policy, risks badly-needed revenue, but meets only the venal gratification found in the expression of inhumanity towards ones’ fellows. As in the case of the voter suppression legislation both acts are based on a lie, and a GOP narrative that disdains consideration for the perspective of others.

Every registrar of voters in every Florida county asked the legislature to refrain from the voter suppression bill SB 90. Not a one asked for the unnecessary, more mean-spirited changes that include restriction on giving water for voters whose polling sites have been plotted to produce delays and long lines. But the spoilsports in GOP legislation swept aside these considerations to vent their spleen at losing the last Presidential election. In addition to suppressing vote by mail options SB 90 restricts third-party voter registration organizations (think Black church organizations and you get a better view of whom the GOP is targeting here).

There was no widespread voter fraud for Joe Biden. But the Democrats did narrowly lose a race last year by 32 votes as a ghost candidate in District 37 siphoned votes by running under the same last name as the incumbent. A candidate who did nothing to campaign and switched from Republican affiliation just in time to post on the ballot using the same last name as the Democratic tipped the race to the GOP. This was an incident of real voting sham. It was not addressed by the new GOP legislators’ voter “reform” legislation. Instead, two hate efforts, chasing children off the field of play and disenfranchising communities have been presented in tandem at a number of Southern states as the blitzkrieg of GOP priority this season. The economic catastrophe of a boycott backlash by loss of tourism, will of course, fall hardest on us in Florida.

Those who fear monger must ever strive to slice and dice the constituencies that might unite against their control under a shared banner of fairness. Divide and rule, ever the motto of the tyrant. Ever more tight becomes the scrutiny for who is “good” enough for full citizenship. Niemoller, the Lutheran paster wrote, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist… Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak…” We have seen a party demonize some of its own citizens before in this world, it does not end well. This fear- based impulse to suppress dissent always expands to the suppression of freedom of speech.

This behavior should be repudiated by every decent Republican in Florida.

Now’s a good time.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral