In both his administration and his campaign, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has made “wokeness” a central theme. He frequently makes the statement that Florida is “where woke goes to die.” The governor of this state has signed a slew of measures into law that aim to roll back progressive policies that seek to address issues of racial inequality, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and indoctrination in public schools.
DeSantis has stated that he wants to cut funding for similar federal programs if he is elected president. Recently, he has said that he thinks his anti-woke measures will help the Defense Department.
At a press conference held in a hangar at the Columbia, South Carolina, airport on July 18, DeSantis announced his “Mission First” philosophy. Republican state representative Joe Bustos defended the presidential candidate’s service record and said that “no one wants to hear about pronouns” in the military.
DeSantis has promised to roll back efforts to increase diversity in the armed forces. He said China is laughing at the United States because the Navy uses “drag queens to recruit people.” In recent years, the Chinese government has cracked down on inclusion initiatives, suppressing pro-LGBTQ+ student and other groups in public institutions. To counter China’s “advantage,” DeSantis plans to eliminate military diversity and pursue similar tactics.
In a video published by his presidential campaign, the governor promised to reverse all of Obama and Biden’s initiatives. Among these regulations is the option for transgender service personnel to remain in the armed forces. Do not Ask, Do not Tell, the policy that prevented openly gay people from serving in the military, was also repealed under Obama’s administration. DeSantis campaigned on a platform of bringing the military back “to its glory.”
DeSantis’ plan would also penalize military soldiers who participate in politics and remove climate change projects. Those who were discharged during the national health crisis for failing to meet mandatory requirements will be readmitted. Furthermore, he would put a halt to initiatives that are now working to eliminate white nationalists in the military.
DeSantis Defends Policy
The governor defended his plans during an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN. He brought up the recruitment issues facing the military and said, “Everybody has acknowledged these recruiting levels are at a crisis.” He attributes this to the general public’s perception that the military has strayed from its original goal in favor of “focusing on a lot of these other things.”
The governor’s ultimate goal is to remake America the same way he remade Florida, with a bigger military.