Democrats: Let’s play make believe!

Democrats: Let’s play make believe!

Astonishing charge that Florida Gov. DeSantis has imprisoned us. Democrats get it entirely backward.

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom took out ads bolding proclaiming that Ron DeSantis is persecuting Florida, I thought to myself: Hmm, where have I heard or seen this before.

I figured it out. Nearly the identical language appeared in a Chicago Tribune op-ed opinion column by a David McGrath: (I feel imprisoned in Ron DeSantis’ Florida on the Fourth of July,” July 1),

In other words Florida is a state in repression. Even though I’m blessed to be in Florida.

Here’s a paragraph from McGrath’s op-ed:

But ever since Ron DeSantis took over as governor, our [Floridian’s] freedoms, which we ought to be celebrating on the 246th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, are being retracted, one by one. Persecution has been mounting to such an extent that I’m starting to feel like Tim Robbins’ character in the film “The Shawshank Redemption.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ad:

It’s Independence Day so let’s talk about what’s going on in America. Freedom, it’s under attack in your state. Your Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors. I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight or join us in California. But we still believe in freedom.

Both use the Fourth of July and its promise of freedom as the reason for the flor bashing the supposedly godawful oppressed state.. Both inaccurately describe what’s happening. Both are so ridiculous and untrue that only a fool would make such assertions. Only an fool would believe them.

I wrote letters to the Chicago Tribune and the Jacksonville’s Florida-Times Union trying to correct this BS. So far, neither paper has published the letters and I doubt they ever will.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s alarming how often Democrats are getting it wrong.

President Joe Biden and his administration have no shame in claiming that the previous administration left them a complete mess. As if Donald Trump did nothing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They initially denied that inflation was here. Or if it was, inflation would be no big dead. Just move along. That the evacuation from Afghanistan was a “success”

But I digress. My letters to the Tribune and Times-Union are below. Below the letters is DeSanti’s response.

My letter to the Chicago Tribune

If everyone in Florida were as miserable as David McGrath seems to be (“I feel imprisoned in Ron DeSantis’ Florida on the Fourth of July,” July 1), people would be fleeing the state in caravans, instead of actually moving here to escape Blue State bondage.

McGrath’s itemizations of everything bad are sometimes exaggerated or flat-out wrong.

Or laughable. According to McGrath, the governor is “retracting” our freedoms, “one by one.” “Persecution” is so bad that he’s thought of heading for Mexico. Oh dear. Don’t get trampled by the undocumented immigrants heading out way.

For example, he said classes about sexual orientation are banned. Wrong, “Age-appropriate” instruction is allowed in fourth grade and above, but not in kindergarten to third grade. 

Let’s clear up a few other things. Under DeSantis, the decision about masking kids in school, is the parents’ not the teachers’. How horrible is that?

In Florida, children were not forced into remote learning. Instead, DeSantis and school boards safely ended the lockdowns early, and spared many Florida children the proven learning, emotional and other harms. 

Likewise, family and business lockdowns were ended early without the predicted disastrous spread of the Covid-19. More businesses could open and survive.

“DeSantis has clamped down on schools and teachers like me,” McGrath wrote, “threatening to punish those who do not adhere to his political policies.” The “how is that” escapes me after reading and rereading McGrath’s far-reaching but poorly supported indictment. Here, for example: The governor also is supposedly setting up “a special police force” to discourage minorities from voting. Actually, the law creates an Office of Election Crimes and Security to review fraud allegations and conduct preliminary investigations. Law enforcement, in other words.

Here’s another allegation: The governor is auditing college professors to make sure they no way deviate from his political doctrine. Just the opposite, really. An annual survey of colleges seeks to encourage scholars to respect all viewpoints, instead of indoctrinating students with exclusively left-wing dictates.

One law seeks to keep protests from escalating into the kind of violence whose cost can be measured in lives lost. Another freedom retracted, right?

McGrath has penned more imagined sins. But for this Illinois émigré, they are not enough to return to the corrupt, broke, one-party state. No one is retracting my freedoms. If the “imprisoned” McGrath wants to leave a state that gives him a living, the border always is open.

My letter to the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville

Just when long-suffering America needed a good laugh, Gavin Newsome (a.k.a. the nation’s funniest governor) comes along to provide it.

In the Democrat’s hilarious ad, Newsom brought Floridians the dire news that their “freedom is under attack.”  He expanded the joke: “Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors.

“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love.”

Good Lord, where to start?

California believes in freedom? Right, the freedom to set up homeless encampments next to schools. The kind of freedom that emancipated children from their classrooms to suffer the academic, emotional and other bad stuff from remote learning. The freedom to shut down businesses and herd Californians into their homes in some of the nation’s most extreme pandemic lockdown regimes. 

Let’s not forget the freedom to pay higher taxes. The freedom that arises from having to look over your shoulder to see if you’re the next one to be attacked on the street. Thanks, in part, to those San Francisco and Los Angeles “no-bail” district attorneys.

“Banned books?” Huh? I can buy any book I want and find most of them are available in our great libraries. I guess he’s referring to Florida not wanting their children to be exposed to indoctrination about how they’re inherently racist. Or how kindergarten kids should be gender neutral. 

Hard to vote in Florida? As a new Floridian, not signing up to vote would have been more difficult. With ease, I voted in person and by mail. Of course, I’m a privileged white male so Florida authorities made sure I have special access to the polls that others don’t.

Criminalizing women and doctors? No such thing is found in the new “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act.” Unlike in some other states that would ban abortions or allow abortions up to the moment of birth, Florida’s restrictions are more in line with what more moderate Americans support, such as parental notification. And why even try to describe how the “Don’t say gay” law has been slandered?

Funny thing, though, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state didn’t have to take out ads to persuade Californians to move to Florida. They’re arriving in the thousands. As are freedom-seeking people arriving here from New York, Illinois and other Blue States. 

I could go on, but what’s the use. Newsom saying that California is freer than Florida is like Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claiming that the southern border “is closed.” It’s a joke. But actually, not very funny.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replies

Over the past three years, we have been called to make choices and answer questions we did not expect.

Questions about how, in a world that seemed frightening and different, we were going to raise our kids, continue to put food on the table, and care for our communities?

And questions that feel further out now like, how does our government interact with its citizenry in a time of crisis?

How is our government — one of the people, by the people, for the people — meant to protect life, but not stifle liberty?

In crisis, do we foster freedom? Or do we force our citizens down?

Well, over the past three years I believe we have had the truth revealed about those two vastly different approaches. Not in an academic textbook or in a theoretical debate, but in the harsh reality of governing during COVID. You could not find two more starkly different examples than the free state of Florida and the woke tyranny of Gavin Newsom’s California.

It isn’t hard to understand why the Governor of California wants to talk about Florida. It’s part of the one topic he tries to focus on: Anything but California.

Let’s take a look at the record of the “liberal elite” in California:

They locked their kids out of public schools at the behest of the teachers’ unions.They forced small businesses to close with many never to re-open again.They hobbled law enforcement and allowed drugs and crime to destroy their cities.

Everything on that list is a tragedy, and it’s only made worse by the disregard and disrespect shown by leaders like Gavin Newsom. The idea of locking down your citizens and then darting off to the fanciest restaurant in the state to rub their noses in it.

It’s wrong, it’s disgusting, and it’s no surprise that every day driving around Florida I see more and more California license plates as a result.

In Florida, we didn’t bludgeon our people with government mandates; we lifted people up — protecting their jobs, their businesses, and their kids’ education. I don’t We didn’t lock business owners out of their livelihoods and we didn’t lock people out of their jobs.

In Florida we didn’t turn a blind eye to crime and drugs, we put criminals behind bars, and we kept our streets safe.

Gavin Newsom doesn’t want to talk about California, and I don’t blame him. But the reality is, there are plenty of woke liberal billionaires on Gavin Newsom’s speed dial who do not want to see individual freedom succeed. They don’t want to see it succeed in Florida or anywhere else.

Because if it succeeds, it shows everyone that the top down nanny-state tyranny of California is avoidable — Free people making their own decisions are better off than a locked down citizenry dictated to by elitists.

That’s why I need your help. Gavin Newsom, funded by Hollywood liberals, Big Tech billionaires, and who knows who else is running ads in Florida. I need your help to fight back. On our side are free people who care to stay that way. On their side is everyone who thinks they know better.

[The reply ends with a pitch for a campaign donation. Not my job.]

Welcome to ChicagoNow.

our bloggers,
post comments, or
pitch your blog idea.

Visit my new website

I’m a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at

Subscribe to The Barbershop

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page


The Barbershop: Dennis Byrne, Proprietor’s favorite blogs

Blithe Spirit
Center for Media and Public Affiars
Chicago Daily Observer
Forgotten Chicago
Pat Hickey’s “With Both Hands”
QT brought to you by Zay Smith

Like me on Facebook


The Barbershop: Dennis Byrne, Proprietor’s favorite blogs

Blithe Spirit
Assorted commentary offered in lieu of organized commentary that is not yet organized
Center for Media and Public Affiars
Chicago Daily Observer
Intelligent commentary about Chicago politics
Forgotten Chicago
A great site featuring what Chicago used to be and how it got to what it is now.
Pat Hickey’s “With Both Hands”
QT brought to you by Zay Smith
Chicago’s wittiest columnist

Our National Debt



politics (269)
Illinois (169)
Chicago (157)
Obama (105)
COVID-19 (95)
Barack Obama (76)
Obamacare (72)
elections (70)
Donald Trump (66)
health care (62)

Recent Comments

Thank goodness i have found someone else experiencing the same problem. ExpressHR
Read the story | Reply to this comment
Kind of hard not to identify the suspect. If they are alive, they have to be arraigned, indicted, and tried…
Read the story | Reply to this comment
Read the story | Reply to this comment
There is something to be said about not giving any kind of credibility to people who commit such crimes, but…
Read the story | Reply to this comment
In reply to Grundoon:
Well, “Expound” seems to present a heavy lift in explaining my position. I will admit I am not and have…
Read the story | Reply to this comment


Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area


It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

About ChicagoNow



Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.