Editor, The Beacon:
Mr. Hoelscher’s criticism of my letter on the biology of sexuality and gender ignored the primary focus. Sexuality and gender have strong biological foundations. They are not made-up psychological issues. These citizens should not be discriminated against and refused medical treatment. Nor should these realities be hidden from our children.
Rather, Mr. Hoelscher accuses me of equating Mr. DeSantis’ policies with gas chambers, torture and imprisonment like we saw in Nazi Germany, Uganda and Putin’s Russia. Below I elaborate my position on DeSantis’ authoritarian policies.
The Nazi gas chambers that killed Jews, atheists, homosexuals, and people with left-wing political ideologies did not happen overnight. The discrimination began with the passage of laws based on U.S. Jim Crow laws, history no longer allowed to be taught here in Florida. Notice the similarity in targets: race, non-Christians, sexuality, and DeSantis’ pledge to “destroy leftism.”
It starts by banning books, altering history, and passing discriminatory laws against targeted populations. Sometimes it escalates. Hitler had his Brownshirts; Mussolini, his Black Shirts; Putin, his Wagner Group; and Trump was counting on his Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
DeSantis’ State Guard is not up and running like those groups, but it has been funded and they are undergoing counterinsurgency training. DeSantis witnessed torture at Guantánamo but didn’t report it.
Authoritarians need to control all branches of government and the economy. DeSantis’ removal of elected officials and attacks on private businesses like the Rays baseball team and Disney World are consistent with how authoritarians rule.
While DeSantis has not called for mass arrests or executions, his policies are killing people. As noted in my previous letter, stigmatizing the LGBTQ+ community creates more suicide. The six-week abortion ban puts women’s lives and their future fertility in danger when they encounter problems like ectopic and nonviable pregnancies.
My point was not that DeSantis policies are identical to those of Hitler. But they are very similar to the early stages of Hitler’s rise to power, and the dehumanization of his political enemies. And what is “woke,” other than something DeSantis doesn’t like?