As The Intellectualist noted last week, Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has appointed at least two questionable individuals to his 41-person transition advisory team.
More detail from the Miami New Times sheds greater light on just how questionable the pair appear to be, considering the right-wing group to which they belong.
The Florida Citizens' Alliance is based in Naples. The Florida Phoenix, a blog specializing in Tallahassee-related news, reported earlier this morning that some Naples-area residents familiar with the Alliance were upset that DeSantis chose two of its members — Rick Stevens and Keith Flaugh — to sit on his education advisory committee. Parents have called the group "racially insensitive."
That's something of an understatement: The group's M.O. appears to be showing up at local and state government meetings and flipping its wig whenever public-school teachers (correctly) mention the Founding Fathers were white men, when the topic of sex is discussed at all, or when climate change is taught as fact. Though not explicitly racist, the group's members sure get ornery whenever anyone mentions race relations in America. For example, one Alliance member this year objected to "required reading" for students in Collier County because the books included "stories depicting ‘victims’ of capitalism, and the bigoted, sexist, racist 'American Culture' where whites victimize Indians, Mexican immigrants, women, Japanese, Chinese, African-American, and animals." Group members have become upset that school texts have tried to explain that "racism against whites" largely doesn't exist and is not nearly as pervasive an issue as racism against people of color. In a staggering blog post from this past April, a writer labeled the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution — the ones that freed the slaves, give women the right to vote, and protect civil rights for all people — "dangerous."
The Alliance also has passed on materials urging a change to school curriculum that it believes unfairly puts too much blame on white Europeans for the slave trade and not enough on Muslims.
"Slavery in the Americas needs to be completely rewritten," one text about sixth-grade history courses in Collier County reads. "It puts the entire onus for slavery on the white Europeans. The historical significance and impactful history of Muslim participation in the Slave Trade has been omitted and the students are left without the slightest inkling of the ubiquitous nature and vast extent of the slave trade in the Islamic world."
Other teaching materials that offend the Alliance?
The group vehemently objects to any materials that teach evolution and climate change as fact (even though they are indeed fact) — the Daily Beast last month published a fairly long piece about the group's, ahem, jihad against climate science.
The group also compiles a yearly "Objectionable Materials" dossier of books and teaching materials to which the Alliance objects. The group appears to grow upset whenever it thinks school texts promote "Islam," "socialism," sex, evolutionary science, or gun control, for example.
Flaugh, who now advises DeSantis, has shared some such material online himself and claimed that public school students are being "indoctrinated" into following Islam.
Flaugh in 2016 posted a blog to the Alliance website that was written by Pamela Geller, the far-right, outwardly racist, anti-Muslim pundit. Flaugh posted an old Geller column titled "Imposing Islam in Your Public School in Six Easy Steps." In 2017, Flaugh bizarrely shared materials on the Alliance website that accused Turkish preacher and political dissident Fethullah Gulen of trying to create an "Islamic-supremacist cult" in America.
The Alliance is also quite politically active, according to the New Times.
The group routinely sends representatives to local-government meetings to object to various texts. In 2017, one Alliance member, David Bolduc, described a school text as "Cultural Marxist education treason." Bolduc even grew angry that textbooks called America a "democracy" rather than a "republic." Many Alliance texts state that "democracy" is "mob rule."