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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Florida Bill to End Cancel Culture; Will the Senate Pass It?

By Carole Hornsby Haynes   February 20, 2024 

Florida is considered a conservative state yet it has been aggressively removing monuments, both Confederate and non-Confederate, for years. Jacksonville has wasted no time in canceling its heritage with the removal of several monuments since 2016, joined by St. Petersburg, Orlando, Fort Myers, Ocala, Daytona Beach, Pensacola, Gainesville, and Lakeland. A bill (SB 1122) pending in the Florida Senate could end this desecration of the state’s historical monuments and memorials to its storied past. 

The ban would apply to any “statue, marker, plaque, flag, banner, cenotaph, religious symbol, painting, seal, tombstone, or display constructed and located on public property” for the past 25 years. Although the bill does not directly mention “Confederate,” it would protect all monuments and memorials to “military service of any past or present military personnel, including any armed conflict since settlers from other countries came to what is now the United States.” So far in Florida, WWII memorials and a memorial to the founder of Florida State University, Francis Eppes, a relative of Thomas Jefferson, and a memorial to Christopher Columbus, have all been removed from view. The senate bill sponsor cites these as the main reason for his proposed legislation. 

Any government official, whether elected or appointed, who enacts or enforces a local ordinance that violates state law would be fined as much as $1000 without any public funding allowed for defense or reimbursement. If a local government has removed, damaged, or destroyed a monument or memorial, it would be on the hook for restoring or replacing it. In the absence of local funding, the state would step in to pay the bill and withhold “all cultural, and historical preservation funding” until the money is reimbursed. 

Florida lawmakers have been complicit in canceling culture by removing Florida’s historic monuments. In 2016, the Republican-led Florida State Legislature voted to remove one of two statues representing Florida from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. It was removed and replaced in 2021 with the statue of civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune, as the hall’s first statue of an African-American, who was actually from South Carolina. 

In his 2019 formal letter to U.S. Capitol officials requesting the replacement, Governor DeSantis ignored recommendations of two others who had made significant contributions to this nation – Marjory Stoneman Douglas, credited with helping with the creation of the Florida Everglades National Park and George Washington Jenkins, founder of the Publix supermarket chain. The rationale for selecting Bethune as a way to promote “diversity” – DEI – is suspicious since DeSantis has been fighting to abolish this radical ideology in Florida universities. 

Since the 1960s when left-leaning historians began rewriting the history of the Civil War, Americans have been brainwashed to believe that slavery triggered the invasion of the South, rather than the age old question, “who will pay the taxes?” In 1860, the majority of the Federal revenue came from the South, yet the majority was spent in the North. 

According to the radical left organization Southern Poverty Law Center, the legacy of the Confederacy and slavery has contributed to systemic racism in America. They claim that removal of all Confederate memorials is an important step in fighting the white supremacist values. SPLC applauds its efforts to re-educate the American people with historical revision about the cause of the war and the purpose of the Confederate memorials. They deny they are rewriting history, only reinterpreting it. There is no difference – just another leftist tactic to confuse the public. 

After years of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, radical Islamists, communists and others who reject the constitutional foundation of our civilization, along with the infiltration of Critical Race Theory and DEI in our institutions, many now recognize Marxist code terms -- systemic racism, white supremacist, and diversity. Removing Confederate monuments is not about eliminating systemic racism in Florida or any other state, but rather carrying out a socialist revolution to bring America under communist rule.

Lawmakers should pay close attention to the real purpose for the Left’s removal of Confederate monuments and stop being complicit in their canceling of our culture. It is critical that lawmakers arm themselves with the truth about the Civil War and Reconstruction. 

A long ago era is being judged through a modern day prism. To quote Nigerian journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani whose great grandfather was a slave trader, “Assessing the people of Africa's past by today's standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villains." This is what the radical left is doing to our American heroes, especially those from Southern states.  Lawmakers should learn the history of slavery worldwide and its continued existence even here in the United States as human trafficking. 

The Left will not stop with Confederate heritage.  Already other monuments have been removed across the nation, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Lewis and Clark, Ulysses Grant, Christopher Columbus, Theodore Roosevelt, Francis Drake, Mahatma Gandhi, Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, Francis Scott Key, and Walt Whitman. The enemy intends to destroy everything from America’s past until it becomes a nation that we will not recognize. 

This nation’s general belief has been that all our history must be preserved, regardless of whether it is good or bad, to be passed on to future generations as a basis for making sound decisions for present problems. As evidence of our past, heritage is an important source of information to trace our evolution. 

For several years, protesters have been toppling Confederate monuments across the South while local government officials stood by silently. With SB 1122, if “Anti-fa in suits” (tiny town tyrants) in city or county government or woke university administrators attempt to destroy the heritage of Florida. They will be forced to stop the carnage or shell out the funding to restore and return the monument. 

By passing SB 1122, Florida State Senators and the Florida legislature would leave their legacy for stopping and reversing the radical left’s devastation of the heritage of Florida. If the Republican-controlled body fails to pass it, they will be complicit with the radical left. Will they have the moral courage to protect the heritage of Florida? 

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