How DeSantis Could Lose to Disney

We need to focus on the victims and Disney is not the victim.

From time to time, Canadian political journalists trot out the famous statement made by Kim Campbell in the 1993 federal election: “An election is no time to discuss serious issues.” She went on to lose the election in the worst defeat of a governing party in Canadian history, starting the campaign with a majority of 169 seats and ending up with a grand total of 2. Since then, her statement has been regarded as one of the dumbest things a politician ever said. 

But what she was trying to say was not totally bonkers. In context, it was literally true that a 47-day election campaign was not enough time to renegotiate a reform of social programs that could only be accomplished by a set of negotiations with ten separate provinces. But at a deeper level, it also is true that a modern election campaign is not the right time to discuss the details of political theory. It is time to put theories into practice by defending practical policies and attacking the policies of one’s opponents. Woe betide the politician who gets too deep into the weeds once the writ has dropped, and the race is on. 

I was reminded of this fact while observing the way that Ron DeSantis has allowed Disney to turn a debate over corrupting children with extreme ideology and doing medical experiments on their developing bodies into a debate on free speech, corporate independence from government, and how open a state should be to large employers

The facts on the ground are gruesome. Children as young as kindergarten are being sexualized and brainwashed into thinking that the normal struggles of puberty are indications that they are trapped in a body of the wrong sex, and everybody should just stand back and let the butchers inject dangerous hormones into their systems and cut off healthy organs. DeSantis was strongest when he held a press conference and read from elementary school library books that were too graphic and disgusting to be allowed on network television, forcing the networks to cut away. That puts the focus where it belongs. 

But when the focus shifts to issues of big, bad government shutting down Disney’s free speech, DeSantis is explaining and losing. The left frames it as “targeted government retaliation” and this makes everyone forget about the eighteen-year-old girls with no breasts and no way back from the biggest mistake of their lives.  

The point is not whether Disney has a right to comment on a law and support it or not. It does. But the point is that Disney has allowed the woke cult to run wild in an environment that, like schools, is focused on innocent children. It isn’t that Disney wants to speak; the problem is that what it wants to say is abusive to children. As long as DeSantis is stressing how bad it is that Disney wants to sexualize children and brainwash them into anti-scientific gender ideology, he is winning. If DeSantis’s opponents what to support that, make them do so explicitly.

In an age of giant woke corporations, powerful and well-funded activist groups like Human Rights Campaign, a woke-controlled educational system, woke universities, etc. ordinary people are desperate for a voice and their vote in a democratic system is their last resort. If governments don’t allow our voice to be heard, we are in for a woke hegemony with no limit or end. Voting for politicians who vow to protect children is one of the few avenues open to sane adults with a modicum of common sense.

The lesson here has a broader application to conservative Christian social action in general. We need to focus on specific issues (like slavery in the 19th century and abortion in the 20th) not on political theory. Of course, the academics will need to discuss, analyze, and refine how church and state relate and what kind of political theories should guide us. But in the middle of a fight to protect children from being sexually abused by transgender ideologues, we need to keep the focus on the victims and Disney is not the victim here.   

Discussion of things such as natural law, the constitution, and liberal democracy, tend to divide people up into an increasingly large number of smaller and smaller camps. That is fine in academic settings. But electoral politics is about building coalitions of allies who are not agreed on everything. There are many parents who are not evangelical or conservative, and not motivated by a desire to recover the Christian character of the nation. But they know transgenderism is evil and they will follow the lead of someone who focuses on protecting children.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Craig A. Carter

Craig A. Carter is Research Professor of Theology at Tyndale University in Toronto and Theologian in Residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario. He is the author of several books including Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition and Contemplating God with the Great Tradition. He is also a columnist for World Opinions and writes a substack newsletter entitled The Great Tradition.