Florida Man takes on Mickey Mouse
Might as well start off the week with a bang.
Someone sent me that mock poster of our governor, who has managed to totally humiliate an entire state by his personal feud with a fictional rodent.
I started reading about what Gov. Ron DeSantis has in mind for Disney, but got bored after a few minutes.
The governor is targeting Disney, one of the state’s largest private employers and, frankly, the biggest reasons zillions of families come to Florida each year.
Florida is a tourist mecca, but Disney is the capital. All success flows from the Magic Kingdom. To suggest otherwise is foolish.
I’m not saying this as a big Disney fan because I’m not. I’ve been there twice and both times were somewhat forgettable. I have little doubt Disney has run roughshod over Central Florida's local government for decades and had a one-of-a-kind arrangement with the Legislature that allowed all sorts of things.
But we’re not Disney. What’s the governor’s next target? Sunshine? Sand?
Now, you know Just Wright Citrus rarely ventures outside Citrus County for subject matter. Today I'm making an exception:
— First off, how odd is this? Florida man vs. the Mouse. That alone should make us cringe.
I have a general knowledge of what this is about: Disney said something the governor doesn’t like and now he’s retaliating. Oh, did you expect something deeper? No, that’s really it.
Disney’s somewhat open culture is the exact opposite of what this new Republican conservatism seems to embrace. So when the governor signed off on the so-called “don’t say gay” bill, it was Disney that eventually said what many were thinking: Gee, that’s a little extreme, isn’t it?
Instead of reacting as a cool, calm political leader, using the criticism to explain his purpose and reasoning, the governor declared open season on Donald Duck.
The message, oh so clear: Disagree with the governor and get punished for it.
It’s one thing to go after a political rival. It’s a whole other weirdness when a Republican governor attacks private business. I thought Democrats were the anti-business party. What universe are we in?
— What we’re seeing is arrogance gone wild. I have nothing against arrogance. But it must be earned and used appropriately.
Here’s what I mean. Two people who have earned their arrogance are Gerry Mulligan and Frank DiGiovanni.
During 43 years until his 2021 retirement, Mulligan built the Citrus County Chronicle as this community’s voice and waystation, turning aside doubters and taking on the powerful. He earned the right to speak his piece and while we didn’t always agree with it, we trusted that it came from a good place.
DiGiovanni is probably the most arrogant government official I’ve ever known. But look what he’s done: Courthouse Square, Inverness City Hall, Depot District.
And while he always deflected accolades to the council, we knew better.
Now. If it’s true, as the mayor and some city council members allege, that DiGiovanni played footsie with the details on Depot District, and the city ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars to repair the errors, that’s arrogance gone wild.
(For what it’s worth, two local politicians in office who I believe have earned their arrogance: Superintendent of Schools Sandra “Sam” Himmel and Congressman Gus Bilirakis.)
DeSantis has earned his arrogance. He’s extremely popular, has unfettered success in the Legislature, off a dominating re-election win, considered the national party’s No. 1 presidential alternative to Donald Trump — and he’s dueling with Minnie Mouse. How else to explain it but arrogance gone wild?
By the way, our new state senator, Blaise Ingoglia, is lock in step with the governor on this and many other things. I like Ingoglia but I don't agree with his legislative approach at all, and I told him that.
The state government is using power to punish people who dared to express views contrary to its fearless leader. And we’re supposed to cheer?
It’s a small mind after all.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.