March 28, 2022

SALENA ZITO: Florida Education Bill Looks Different Depending on Where You Stand.

When you come to “the happiest place on earth,” your main focuses usually are: minimizing wait times for your favorite ride; not breaking the bank on food and tchotchkes, and — if your children can stand yet another wait in line — to get as close as possible to their favorite Disney character.

Most folks will tell you that politics, thank goodness, is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.

In fact, on a recent sunny March day, the only thing close to political at Disney was the fact that masks were no longer required, and most of the parkgoers were happily embracing that freedom.

Two weeks later, Disney is now the center of a political fight largely pushed by social justice activists and the national press: They’ve dubbed a Florida education bill restricting sexualized discussions until after third grade as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In response, Disney employees have staged walk-outs and protests at the parks, forcing the CEO to criticize the governor and to use Disney social media as a platform for LGBTQ rights.

First, the facts: Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act for kindergarten through third grade students does not have the word “gay” in it, nor does it prohibit students of LGBTQ families from discussing them. It does bar the “instruction” of sexual orientation or gender identity for that 4- through 8-year-old age group.

A Politico/​Morning Consult poll showed a wide margin of American voters support banning the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to students that young, 51% to 36%.

There are two different things here worth addressing.

First, when many in the media repeatedly used the “Don’t Say Gay” characterization of the bill, the phrase inevitably got passed around and repeated by cultural elites, and soon leaders of global corporations felt compelled to express their concerns. The entertainment industry took a run at it in a “Saturday Night Live” skit; President Joe Biden chimed in by calling the bill “hateful”; and ESPN interrupted the NCAA women’s tournament for a moment of silence.

Second, it is clear that corporate America is willing to be bullied into political culture wars by the press and by activists, something their consumers wish they would stay out of — even when they agree. A survey last year showed that 59% of Americans think companies’ political positions add to our divisiveness. Over half of self-identified Democrats agreed. Another related poll found 66% of Americans thought corporations should not be taking political positions. Again, that includes over half of Democrats.

“I think people hate the politicization of everything,” said Youngstown State political science professor Paul Sracic.

And yet.

Flashback: Hollywood Is a Sex-Grooming Gang.

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