The Union League of Philadelphia is a prestigious club with an impressive history.
Founded in 1862, the club was organized in support of the cause of the Union in the Civil War and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln.
The club in Philadelphia laid the philosophical foundation of other Union Leagues across a nation divided by civil war.
During the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction, it was one of the nation’s most influential organizations. The League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, business leaders and dignitaries from around the world.
Since its founding to the present, the club has been a leading civic organization and has played an important role in the history of the country and of Philadelphia.
Today, the club is set to give its highest honor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, despite protests from more than 100 members who rightfully want to cancel the event.
DeSantis, a likely contender for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, is set to receive the Union League’s prestigious gold medal, an honor first awarded to President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
The Florida governor’s politics is far removed from Lincoln, a president who abolished slavery and preserved the union.
The DeSantis administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools, saying the class violates state law and that it is historically inaccurate.
Henry Louis Gates, a leading scholar on African American history, said the course is “a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study.”
DeSantis is a despicable demagogue who is continuing his pattern of race-baiting and waging a culture war to boost his national profile for a possible run for the presidency in 2024.
He is a far-right politician that even some Republicans consider an extremist.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said last week in an interview with Fox News that DeSantis’s posture against private businesses that disagree with him crosses a line.
Christine Todd Whitman, former Republican governor of New Jersey and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, co-authored a Washington Post Op-Ed that pointed out some of DeSantis’ extremist positions.
In the Op-Ed, Whitman says DeSantis has “repeatedly promoted laws that courts have found to violate the First Amendment. Chief among these were a so-called ‘anti-riot’ bill that was found to have violated free speech and assembly; a law restricting race-based conversation and analysis in business and schools, which a federal judge said turned free speech ‘upside down’; and a law intended to punish social media companies that was unconstitutional because, a judge wrote, ‘the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it.’ That is a statement plainly obvious to any high school civics student, but apparently irrelevant to DeSantis as he championed the law’s creation.”
DeSantis has also passed “homophobic legislation,” the former New Jersey governor said. “Targeting the businesses of his perceived adversaries, DeSantis attacked Disney for opposing the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. He has moved to dissolve their special taxation district, despite the fact that the district keeps neighboring county taxpayers from bearing the huge costs of Disney World’s infrastructure,” Whitman continued.
“DeSantis also bullied the Special Olympics into dropping a vaccine requirement for its Orlando games by threatening them with a $27.5 million fine, even though people with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome, who constitute part of the core Special Olympian, had higher hospitalization and mortality rates from COVID-19.
“DeSantis is now taking his show on the road, traveling the country to brag about what he’s done (while conveniently omitting that the courts have struck down several of his greatest hits for violating people’s constitutional freedoms). Despite this inconvenient truth, these policies pose a political benefit to DeSantis by getting media attention and garnering conservative support as he eyes a potential White House bid in 2024.
“Then there is his showing of contempt for the norms at the very foundation of our democracy — voting. DeSantis has stood with election deniers from Arizona to Pennsylvania. While DeSantis himself has avoided answering whether he thinks the 2020 election was stolen, he proposed and backed a $1.1 million election crimes office in Florida,” Whitman said.
DeSantis sank to a new low in the fall, using children as political pawns by catching officials by surprise in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, with two planeloads of Venezuelan migrants.
Reason.com, a libertarian magazine, said the following about the decisions by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and DeSantis to send migrants to Democratic-leaning cities without warning: “Some of those sent say they were misled about where they were going, Reuters reports. One told Reuters that they had been promised short-term support, work permits and English lessons. But services in Martha’s Vineyard didn’t even know they were arriving.”
If the Union League only invited DeSantis to speak it would have been seen as controversial but an expression of free speech. However, honoring DeSantis with one of its top awards sends the message that the league agrees with his polarizing policies.
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