Between Red and Blue States, the Divide Drags on
New York and Florida may be 1,000 miles apart, but that doesn’t begin to describe the distance between them in leadership. The best illustration of that may have been this week, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) made headlines for punishing a kids’ drag event — and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) decided to host one. If you want to know why New York is bleeding residents and Florida is the fastest growing state in America, look no further.
Even in the permissive Big Apple, the idea that New York’s top law enforcer was headlining a “Drag Queen Story Hour” caught plenty of people off guard. On her Instagram page, James posted, “My office is proud to host a Drag Story Hour read-a-thon on Sunday” and explained that other elected leaders would be in attendance.
The event, co-sponsored by The Pride Center of Staten Island, Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Destination Tomorrow, was also endorsed by 11 Democrats in addition to James — six city councilmembers, four assemblymen, and one state senator. As Ashley St. Clair tweeted, “The ‘family-friendly’ event will take place at the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.’ Your tax dollars are hard at work grooming kids!”
“Why?? Why????” the New York Young Republican Club’s Matt Antar asked. “What is the purpose of government funded drag queens for children? To teach tolerance? BS.” Political commentator Steve Cortes was equally outraged, insisting, “This kind of explicit targeting of children is just evil.” Others, like Alex Ferrer, can’t understand the obsession with bringing kids into the mix in the first place. “Grownups want to dress in drag? More power to them. But what is this fascination with wanting people to bring their kids to your drag show?”
Meanwhile, in the land of sanity (Florida), Governor DeSantis was painting a decidedly different picture. His office just announced this week that the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation had filed a formal complaint against the Hyatt Regency Miami. According to the statement, the hotel ignored the state’s warning not to host their annual Christmas-themed drag show for kids. As a result, the Hyatt is facing an enormously painful penalty — the loss of any hospitality venue’s greatest asset: its liquor license.
DeSantis’s office explained that “the Department is revoking the venue’s license for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.” The statement added, “Sexually explicit content is not appropriate to display to children and doing so violates Florida law. Governor DeSantis stands up for the innocence of children in the classroom and throughout Florida.”
Apparently, the organizers didn’t warn ticketholders of the sexually-explicit content, which, as Fox News points out, was replete throughout the show, including graphics with nudity, simulations of masturbation and oral sex, and lyrics too lewd to reprint.
Turns out, the price of ignoring Florida officials is steep. And while the Hyatt has 21 days to dispute the claim, the companies that have gone head-to-head with Florida’s governor recently don’t tend to fare too well. (Also, what is it with woke hotels? Hilton just rolled out a partnership with a group called Minus18 to host “Queer Formals” for teens.)
When you compare the two responses to an agenda that an overwhelming majority of the country opposes, it’s no wonder that a half-million people have already run for the exits in New York. “Maybe parents are fleeing the morally stagnant swamps and looking for higher ground,” Family Research Council’s Quena Gonzales told The Washington Stand. “Maybe that’s why California and New York keep losing people to Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.”
To Joseph Backholm, a senior fellow at FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview, there’s no clearer snapshot of the dividing lines being drawn in our country. “These two situations illustrate the fractures that are forming in our nation. In some states, protecting the innocence of children will be seen as a compelling state interest while in other states, sexualizing children in the name of tolerance is a compelling state interest. In some states, the government determines where you child goes to school, what they learn, if their genitals should be cut off, and whether they should be exposed to partially dressed dancing men. In other states, governments will protect the right of parents to make those decisions. Different worldviews are creating very different worlds.”
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.