Florida is the state where freedom goes to die.

Since Governor Ron DeSantis was re-elected, he has been using the powers of his office to punish anyone who dares to criticize him. He fired an elected state prosecutor. He has harassed Disney, the state’s largest employer, for daring to oppose his “Don’t Say Gay” law. He has taken over the state’s only progressive college and handed it over to far-right zealots. He has banned the teaching of honest history, most especially Black history. Under his control, the state Department of Education censors textbooks that include facts he doesn’t like. Under his direction, the state board of education is whittling away the tenure and academic freedom of professors. He is replacing competent college presidents of public colleges and universities with his cronies. During the height of the pandemic, he banned any mandates for masks or vaccines. Now he is going after the elected superintendent of Leon County schools.

We have never before seen, at least in our lifetimes, a state attempt to enact fascism, day by day, week by week. I refuse to accept DeSantis’ dictatorial ways as normal. They are not normal. He personally gerrymandered the state, eliminating three of four Black members of Congress. The list of his anti-democratic actions should alarm everyone. He should turn all of us anti-fascist. The “Greatest Generation” fought a world war to defeat fascism. We must not ignore what is happening or normalize it, as the media does when they discuss DeSantis’ presidential aspirations. All I can do is shine a light. It’s up to the voters in Florida and in the GOP primaries to reject this wannabe Mussolini.

Florida officials are threatening to revoke the teaching license of a school superintendent who criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing the educator of violating several statutes and DeSantis directives and allowing his “personal political views” to guide his leadership.

Such a revocation by the state Department of Education could allow DeSantis to remove Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna from his elected office. The Republican governor did that last year to an elected Democratic prosecutor in the Tampa Bay area who disagreed with his positions limiting abortion and medical care for transgender teens and indicated he might not enforce new laws in those areas.

Disney also sued DeSantis this week, saying he targeted its Orlando theme parks for retribution after it criticized the governor’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law that then banned the discussion of sexuality and gender in early grades, but has since been expanded.

Hanna has publicly opposed that law, once defied the governor’s order that barred any mandate that students wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and criticized a DeSantis-backed bill that recently passed that will pay for students to attend private school. The Leon County district, with about 30,000 students, covers Tallahassee, the state capital, and its suburbs.

“It’s a sad day for democracy in Florida, and the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, when a state agency with unlimited power and resources, can target a local elected official in such a biased fashion,” Hanna said in a statement sent to The Associated Press and other media Thursday. A Democrat then running as an independent, Hanna was elected to a second four-year term in 2020 with 60% of the vote. He plans to run for reelection next year and does not need a teacher’s license to hold the job.

“This investigation has nothing to do with these spurious allegations, but rather everything to do with attempting to silence myself and anyone else who speaks up for teachers and our public schools in a way that does not fit the political narrative of those in power,” Hanna said.

He said the investigation was spurred by a single complaint from a leader of the local chapter of Moms for Liberty, a conservative education group, requesting his removal.