The latest right-wing strategy is to label people and businesses that they don’t like as “woke.” The word has a cloudy origin in black slang. The intention is to use this label as a pejorative that will not be bleeped in video and audio media. Florida governor Ron DeSantis labels the Walt Disney Company as “woke” because its then-CEO, Bob Chapik, objected to the Florida anti-gay law.

Aside from the label, DeSantis and his Republican legislature replaced Disney’s special tax district’s board with a hand-picked bunch of religious fanatics and conservative cronies. He claimed that Disney had unique rights with its special tax district. He failed to mention that the state has hundreds of others similar to Disney’s.

What interests me about all this is a look at history. The Reedy Creek district had been in existence for over fifty years. During that time, thanks to Disney, the area around it grew to one of the most prosperous in the nation. Walt Disney World is the largest single-employer location on earth. Over 78,000 people work there. By any measure, the “woke” Walt Disney Company is the best thing that ever happened to the state.

Disney isn’t generally outspoken on political issues. It donates millions to both Republican and Democratic candidates in the state. Before DeSantis’ tantrum, the corporation and the state worked smoothly together to bring prosperity to Orlando. It’s interesting to note that none of the “un-woke” (sleeping?) Republicans could cite a single instance of abuse of power by Reedy Creek.

It’s also interesting to note that DeSantis accused Disney of using Reedy Creek to avoid taxes. He couldn’t say what taxes were avoided but implied that the good people of Orange County and other areas were financing Disney. It turns out that 97 percent of the taxes in the Disney World area is paid by Disney. The other three percent are paid by merchants and hotels on its property. Reedy Creek had a billion dollars in bonds outstanding. Disney was paying them off. Not one cent came from the citizens of Florida.

The DeSantis tantrum has cost the state over a billion dollars in new business. Disney planned to move 3,000 jobs from California to Florida. A new office park had broken ground (outside of the Disney property) to house these workers. That project has been canceled, and workers who were already transferred have been moved back to California.

The Florida situation is just one example of how the far right has hurt our country. People who claim to be for smaller government are inserting laws into social issues. Take abortion. People have strong feelings about it. The Catholic church abhors it. “Woke” people want to let women decide for themselves. Wait a second! Shouldn’t the “small government” conservatives want that? Why would they want to pass laws controlling how women use their bodies? Isn’t that something you’d expect from Iran and Saudi Arabia?

The “un-woke” folks don’t favor balanced budgets and smaller government. They want social control. Their biggest issue is banning abortion. Running a close second is suppressing gay and trans rights. Both are certainly not something a democratic (the method of governing, not the party) nation should suppress.

Another big “un-woke” issue is immigration. It’s unclear what their position is. They are against allowing Latin American immigrants across our southern border. They are apparently fine with Asian and European immigrants. Interestingly, the “woke” folks aren’t exactly ready to open the Latin American floodgates either. There isn’t much difference between the parties on that issue.

I’m particularly troubled by the DeSantis/Florida situation. It’s the first serious case of a politician using his party’s power to seek revenge against a company that dared to disagree with a law he passed. Whether or not you agree with that law, the idea that a state government dominated by a single party can try to destroy a private business for speaking out has to bother even you sleepy, un-woke people.

That’s wrong by any measure. Dissent is a powerful agent that keeps governments honest. When it is suppressed, totalitarianism is moving in. The Republican “un-woke” people aren’t stupid or evil. They are good people blinded by ideology. If nothing else, America stands for free speech and individual freedoms. We’ve fought wars to preserve those values. They are in danger now. I hope that the “un-woke” will wake up and realize that the Constitution and the values it protects are more important than any social issue.

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  1. You misrepresent the views on the right.

    1) Disney- the issue was Disney taking sides on the FL bill that sought to not expose young children to sexually explicit books in their school libraries. Most conservatives think DeSantis did a bad thing using govt power to retaliate against Disney’s free speech, as heinous as it was.

    2) The abortion issue to many on the right is not about bodily freedom, it’s about not murdering babies in the womb. Those folks make no distinction between a mother murdering a +1 day old baby versus a -1 day old baby. They think both are wrong. (I don’t personally agree with that all the way back to conception, but at least I can coherently state their argument).

    3) Immigration. You’re conflating 2 issues. One is illegal immigration, which ignores international law. Most of those are now not from Mexico, they are from all over the world, using Mexico as a way to walk in. Conservatives wish the Dems to both tighten and enforce the law at the border. The other issue is legal merit-based immigration. Most conservatives are for that.

    1. Author

      I’m glad you agree that DeSantis and his Republican legislators did the wrong thing. Actually, the Florida law is much more heinous than you said. It allows local school boards to arbitrarily remove “offensive” books not only from school libraries, but also from public libraries. What’s worse, a followup bill extends this to state universities. It is the worst kind of censorship. One book now unavailable is “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

      On the subject of immigration, the vast majority of people sneaking across the southern border are Central Americans. Both parties want to stop illegal immigration. The difference between Democrats and Republicans is how to treat people applying for asylum. We all agree that we need to find a way to stem the flood.

      The abortion issue is almost always described as”murder” by the anti-abortion groups. Twenty years after Roe v Wade, inner-city crime was down almost seventy percent. The reason was that access to abortion stopped forcing poor, young women to have unwanted babies. The question is far deeper than considering the unborn (at conception even) as people with the same rights as those already here. It has to do with what happens to those kids after they are born. Their mothers don’t magically turn into Mary Poppins. These kids often end up living in Foster care or on the street. I understand how some may have religious beliefs that are against abortion. I would never want my partner to abort a baby I conceived. But I had the means to love and educate my kids. I think the decision to abort is a personal one and extends far beyond the mother.

      1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” being banned is fake news according to the AP ( If you want to make such extreme arguments about the Florida law, you should quote the parts of the law you believe are the worst parts.

        The asylum seeker laws are for cases where the applicant is being politically persecuted by their own govt and the country they’re applying to is their first hop. That applies to 0% of the illegal immigrants flowing across the border. Clearly Dem leadership does not care about this issue or they would have shut it down and not incentivized it.

        With abortion, I’m not arguing for or against. I’m letting you know that it’s more than just religious people who feel it may be wrong to kill an unborn baby, especially in the third trimester when the mom’s health is not at risk.

        1. Author

          I am against laws that attack the first amendment. Personally, I don’t think schools should teach anything about sex to kids in the first, second, or third grades. The book banning is real. I may have missed on a single title, but it is affecting a lot of people. I agree with you about asylum laws. Both Trump and Biden seem to have avoided the fact that gang violence is not grounds for asylum. In terms of abortion,my position is that women need the right to decide. If you want to make abortion illegal, than you have to make provisions to support the unwanted babies after they are born.

        1. Author

          Yes, environmental issues also damage kids and take options away from them. We do have laws to try to correct those problems. The correlation between abortion and crime is irrefutable. Behind that statistic are millions of unwanted kids trying to survive. What’s crueler, abortion, or a lifetime of crime and misery? In too many cases, that’s the reality.

  2. It’s not an anti-gay law. Get educated and don’t listen to leftist lies.

    1. Author

      Are the rightie’s lies better? The law that DeSantis passed blocked schools from mentioning homosexuals or transsexuals in classes third-grade or under. It also authorized book censorship that might contain sexual content.

  3. You hit the nail on the head.

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