The California-Florida Censorship War Exposes A 1960’s Republican Mindset

Barry Gander
10 min readMay 24

I suppose it had to come to this.

A war between Florida and California.

No bullets are flying yet, but the books are winging through the air like a madcap day in Hogworts.

Governor Newsom in California has just demanded records from the textbook companies to see which ones are caving in the DeSantis’ demand for book bans.

He suggested Florida textbooks may “rewrite history in a back room.” Further, he suggested basic facts about segregation, the Holocaust, and the story of Rosa Parks are being erased.

He gave a June 1 deadline for compliance.

He insists that Californians “deserve to know whether any of the companies designing textbooks for our state’s classrooms are the same ones kowtowing to Florida’s extremist agenda.”

What is at stake is DeSantis’ 1960s-era Republican playbook. If Trump stole “Make America Great Again” from Reagan, then DeSantis stole Barry Goldwater’s fear that “In our anxiety to improve the world and insure progress we have permitted our schools to become laboratories for social and economic change.”

Social and economic change would be terrible for the grandson of an Italian immigrant.

DeSantis stole his ideas almost word-for-word from Goldwater, as he opposes government intervention in civil rights as well as American education. But it’s OK for government to intervene to close down immigration, evidently.

He wants to dismantle our multiracial society. And he is not a big fan of science, either; he wants to use Christian nationalism as a war banner.

Newsom stopped short of naming specific consequences for non-compliance with his demand, saying only that California would “not be complicit.” No specific punishment for publishers has been outlined in the event that they designed textbooks that alter historical or social accuracy.

Florida rejected around one-third of social studies textbooks proposed for next school year.

Barry Gander

A Canadian from Connecticut: 2 strikes against me! I'm a top writer, looking for the Meaning under the headlines. Follow me on Mastodon @Barry