Culture War – The battle over how Americans think and feel


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I am currently reading with pleasure Heinrich Kuemmerles reports from the USA. I particularly liked his description of the May 23, 2023 Republican Party as a rally movement, “which in Germany would unite the CDU, CSU, AfD, NPD, Reich citizens, Monday marchers and other scoundrels.

I see it similarly and have therefore noted in today's post that the venerable GOP is wandering around. A little bit of everything, but without a clear agenda. "The Republican Party has gotten weird," wrote one commentator in the New York Times.

Fittingly, the extreme right-wing congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from  Georgia up in February Twitter raved about the dissolution of the United States - a "National Devorce". Taylor Greene is not just anyone. When she moved into the House of Representatives as a sworn Trump supporter in 2021, she mainly had aggressive verbal attacks on political opponents, including on Nancy Pelosi, the then Speaker of the House, achieved a certain degree of fame. In the meantime she is - not least in the course of the drama about the choice of Kevin McCarthy zfor a new speaker — rose to the senior ranks of the Republicans in the House of Representatives.  

justified her proposal for a separation of the nation Taylor Greene not economically, administratively, structurally or even in terms of security policy, but ideologically: "Tragically, the left and the right have reached a state of irreconcilable differences," wrote Taylor Greene and lamented from the perspective of the right: "We are absolutely disgusted and fed up with the way the left stuffs and imposes their ideas on us and our children, with no respect for our religion, our beliefs, our traditional values ​​and our ideas about the world Economics and Government Policy.” She imagines the realization of this "National Devorce" to be very simple: "The 'red' states and the 'blue' states simply go their own way" (nytimes.com24.2.2023; Jamelle Bouie"Marjorie Taylor Greene Has a dream”). The color 'red' refers to the Republicans and 'blue' to the Democrats.  

Of course has Taylor Greene received a lot of criticism from her own party for this horror vision. But she is not alone in such quibbling about the US constitutional structure. Also Donald Trump After losing the election, he thought aloud about suspending parts of the US Constitution. Quo vadis America? The elections in the coming year will not only be exciting, but also trend-setting. Will people like Marjorie Taylor Greene gain even more influence on Republican politics? What will become of the culture war that has now broken out? About this one Culture War I want to write in this post. What comes out of this will also have an impact on Europe.

Culture War – The battle over how Americans think and feel

Some current preliminary remarks

On Tuesday, April 4.4.2023th, XNUMX in the courthouse New York City a process that has never happened before in the history of the United States: Against Donald Trump, the former President of the USA, a criminal case has been opened; and more may follow. With regard to the subject of the proceedings, it should be noted that it is not about the payment of hush money to a woman - for whatever services and omissions. Hush money payments are not punishable in the USA. Rather, it is about the false declaration and concealment of the payments in Trump's documents. They were labeled "legal fees" so as not to jeopardize Trump's chances in the 2016 presidential election, according to the prosecution. This violated federal and New York State electoral regulations (, April 4.4.2023, XNUMX: "We Finally Know the Case Against Trump, and It Is Strong"; guest post by Karen Friedman Agnifilo and Norman Iron).

peter baker, a renowned journalist New York Times stated that with this charge against Trump in the USA a new precedent had been set. Baker names a number of fundamental questions, such as: Will the country be torn apart again as a result, as some say Watergate feared? Is the process seen by many in the country - and beyond - as a victor's justice, as happens in developing countries where former leaders are imprisoned by the successor? Or will this be a moment of reckoning, a sign that even one of the world's once most powerful figures is not above the law?

These and other questions will keep the United States busy for a long time to come. As for American law, even a president who has been impeached by the House of Representatives, found guilty by the Senate, and removed from office must be liable under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, impeached, and tried under the law can be made, convicted and punished. For the now in New York There are therefore no formal legal obstacles to criminal proceedings against Trump. (, 30.3.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "A President Faces Prosecution, and a Democracy Is Tested"; Analysis of peter baker).   

... In cases of impeachment, the maximum sentence is removal from office and disqualification from holding or holding an honorary, trusted or salaried position in the service of the United States. Notwithstanding, the one found guilty is the indictment, criminal proceedings, conviction and serving of sentence suspended and subjected in accordance with the law.

Excerpt from Article I Section 3 of the US Constitution

I want those from peter baker not examine the fundamental questions and problems raised in more detail. Rather, in the following, we draw a line connecting to the current developments in American politics, not least to the 2024 presidential election campaign that has already started. Donald Trump already announced his candidacy for 15.11.2022 on November 2024, XNUMX. Other Republican politicians have also done so or are in the starting blocks. Trump's former vice president has not yet expressly declared himself Mike Pence and Ron De Santis, the governor of Florida and hopefuls from parts of the Republican Party for the time after Trump. (Annotation: Ron De Santis has now announced his candidacy on May 24.5.2023, XNUMX).

In view of the ongoing criminal proceedings against Trump It is noteworthy that leading Republicans and almost all candidates - even before the New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg had made the 4.4.2023 charges public on April 34, XNUMX - with aggressive criticism Bragg behind Trump have gathered. 

Kevin McCarthy, of Speakers of the House said Bragg have "irreparably harmed our country with his attempt to interfere in the presidential election... While he routinely releases violent criminals to terrorize the public, he has our sacred legal system against President." Trump instrumentalised.” 

Mike Pence expressed "outrage". And pence is a prime example of leading Republicans attempting a "both and" when it comes to Trump. When he was recently interviewed about Trump's possible criminal behavior in the New York hush money case, he deflected the question by attacking the prosecutor there: "The fact that the prosecutor of Manhattan impeaching President Trump as his top priority while in New York City a crime wave is rampant shows everything you need to know about the radical left.” (, March 21.3.2023, XNUMX: “Trump Could Stand in the Middle of Fifth Avenue and Not Lose Mike Pence"; comment by Jamelle Bouie). Zu pence' tactic remembers the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "The enthusiasm of the then Vice-President for his ex-boss had decreased considerably since his hooligans had threatened to hang him because instead of Trumps election lie Joe Bidens wanted to confirm election victory.”

In the same SZ report Ron De Santis' response to the allegation Trumps described: “Arming the legal system to advance a political agenda” turns “the rule of law on its head.” As governor of Florida Trump not to the court in New York deliver if this is in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach holed up instead of following the court date. The SZ report notes that this would be a clear violation of the US constitution.

Basically noted Peter Burghardt in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "The Republican assault on a judiciary on multiple fronts Trumps Searches scandal balance for legal consequences, goes on. Conversely, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives will use every opportunity to Biden to target, the withdrawal from Afghanistan or his son's business dealings Hunter The mud fight is just beginning.” (, 1.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "How Republicans Respond to the Trump Impeachment").

Similarly commented David French in his column in the New York Times: “Create with their apocalyptic rhetoric Trump and his defenders the basis, for his supporters, to reject the rule of law..." French captioned his comment, "The rule of law depends on Republicans." (, March 31.3.2023, XNUMX: “The Rule of Law Now Depends on Republicans”).

Indeed, the Republican Party and its constituents bear a great deal of responsibility for the state of the country and its society. However, the venerable party Abraham Lincolns – GOP – is a divided party. In January it took 15 ballots to Kevin McCarthy Speakers of the House to appoint, even though they have a slim, but still a majority in the House of Representatives.  McCarthy had to make serious personal and political concessions to his critics and opponents from the right wing of the GOP in order to be elected at all. One faction member alone is enough to get over the Speakers of the House bring about a vote of confidence. McCarthy has a weak position. 

A particularly difficult dispute has been going on for a long time between the GO P.-majority in the House of Representatives, the White House and the Democrats. It's about raising the country's debt ceiling; the danger of one Shutdowns - a standstill of government action - is in the room. Republicans want the government to make substantial budget cuts in exchange for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. But there is a dilemma: The GO P. does not agree on where to cut costs. The turmoil from speaker choice becomes visible again, both politically and personally.

One of the promises McCarthy's before his election was none Letting go of raising the debt ceiling before reaching an agreement with the government to present a balanced budget within 10 years. More detailed calculations have shown that the only way to achieve this goal in such a short time and without a tax increase is to cut total spending, including defense, veterans' care, Social Security and Medicare, by 26 percent. Excluding the four priorities mentioned, the rest of the budget would have to be reduced by 85 percent. David Firestone, a member of the editorial board of New York Times wrote to the fact that these extreme demands are so unrealistic that they are no longer seriously discussed in the House of Representatives. The debt ceiling should be reached around summer of this year. Internally, some Democrats reckon there will then be serious pressure from financial markets on Republicans to end the threat at the last minute. (, 3.4.2023;  David Firestone"Republicans Can't Agree on a Path Out of Their Own Debt Crisis").

(Note: On 28.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX agreed President Joe Biden and Speaker McCarthy reached a compromise and were thus able to avert the impending insolvency of the USA. This would have happened for the first time in the country's history. The House of Representatives has yet to approve the deal).

In addition, personal tensions in the leadership of the Republican faction have become public. Kevin McCarthy has apparently told several members that he trusts Jodey C arrington of Texas, the chairman of the House Budget Committee to develop a GOP-acceptable proposal involving substantial budget cuts. Evergrove is arrington in the GOP faction the second man behind the speaker. In addition, there is another "thick board" for the Republicans in the House: The overhaul of the American immigration system.

The New York Times describes the current problems of the Republican leadership in the House as follows: The new and relatively inexperienced leadership of the House Republican faces a very experienced president, a Democratic majority in the Senate and the looming debt ceiling crisis. "Democratic leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill are watching the Republican bickering with some satisfaction, anticipating that this discord will ultimately weaken the GOP's position in future budget negotiations.", 6.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Staring Down a Debt Crisis, McCarthy Toils to Navigate GOP Divisions").

Back to Donald Trump and the ongoing criminal proceedings in NYC. The next negotiation date is set for December 4.12.2023th, 2024, at a time when the 2024 election campaign is already in full swing; the primaries of both parties are expected to begin in January XNUMX. In the latest polls, Republicans are still ahead of Trump DeSantis, but by December 2023 a lot can happen that will continue to divide spirits within the GOP. The Trump problem the Republican was recently in the Süddeutsche Zeitung described as: “This is how numerous Republicans entrench themselves behind Trumphow they adore him, fear or hope that his attempt to give the sacrifice will turn into voices. Opponents in the fall of next year is expected again Joe Biden, who still keeps his future plans to himself. Whenever and however he declares himself – against Trump, soon to be 77, the 80-year-old incumbent is considered the favourite, but anything can happen in just under 20 months.” (, 3.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: “How Republicans Respond to the Trump Impeachment”).

A tricky situation for the Republicans, who have already declared themselves as candidates or will declare themselves in the future. After the indictment was announced Trumps in New York they quickly jumped to the side. The reason for this is not least the effort to Trump supporter not alienated from the electorate. But at some point they will have to accept him as a rival for the presidency, attack accordingly and try to win over as many Trumpists as possible. Perhaps one or the other hopes for an unforeseeable event such as that Trump weakens and makes serious mistakes with his campaign. Perhaps one or the other is even hoping for a miracle. At the moment there is nothing else to do but Biden and attack the Democrats head on. Trump and everyone else do this extensively - sometimes below the belt. Stephen Cornelius describes the Republicans' responsibility in the matter of Trump in a comment in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Ultimately, it will be Republicans who will have to decide whether to make the next election a deferred vote on a process or choose a candidate who points to the future. Ideally, the electoral clientele remains divided and helps the Democratic candidate to win the election.” (, April 5.4.2023, XNUMX: “The giant Trump has shrunk to a citizen”; comment by Stephen Cornelius).

Jamelle Bouie writes in the New York Times "Mike Pence wants both... He wants to be the conservative hero of January 6th who dem MAGA mob resisted and defended American democracy. … but Mike Pence also wants to be president.” And therefore, so writes bouy, must pence "talk out of both corners of your mouth." But the only way for Republicans Trump to be ousted from the top, to oppose him with all the strength they can muster. "Republicans cannot avoid conflict if they distance themselves from Trump want to solve. You have no choice but to condemn him, reject his influence, and refuse to defend his criminal acts." (, March 21.3.2023, XNUMX: "Trump Could Stand in the Middle of Fifth Avenue and Not Lose Mike Pence"; comment by JAmelle Bouie).But there are currently no serious signs of this.   

Trump designated the The New Yorker Prosecutor Alvin L Bragg as “handpicked and funded by george soros". Also Ron De Santis  used the formula of "Soros-supported". Consciously or unconsciously, such puns appeal to anti-Semitic prejudices. The over 90 year old George SorosJew from Hungary, escaped the Holocaust, fled Communism and the supporter of democracy projects and liberal educational institutions worldwide - has been stylized over the years as the "big mastermind" of conspiracy theorists. He is the "man behind the curtain" when financial crises break out and refugee migration begins. Last but not least, he is said to be responsible for the moral laxity of the West... The Afro-American Democrat Alvin L Braggwho campaigned indirectly from Soros was supported, is particularly suitable for the mind games of the populists (, April 4.4.2023, XNUMX: “Behind Trump Indictment, the Right Wing Finds a Familiar Villain in Soros”).

The expected opponents in 2024: Joe Biden – Donald Trump

President Joe Biden announced his candidacy as the Democratic candidate for 25.4.2023 on April 2024, XNUMX. Running Mate will be the current Vice President Kamala Harris be. Apparently are Biden and his team of advisors concluded that no Ron De Santis but Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Biden with 80 against DeSantis at 44 would have meant an election campaign in which age would have dominated everything else – to the detriment of biden Although the age issue is now being discussed extensively in the media, it should no longer play a major role at the beginning of the intensive phase of the election campaign, since neither side will be interested in it. Donald Trump at 76, is not significantly younger than Joe Biden.

That Trump will win the race with the Republicans, his poll numbers speak for his party's primaries, which have seen him consistently ahead for a long time. The Süddeutsche Zeitung cites a forecast by Wall Street Journal from April 21.4.2023, XNUMX: Trump leads by 48 percentage points among Republican voters; DeSantis only comes to 24 percent. Other applicants – including Mike Pence, the former Vice President under Trump are registered under "also ran". 

Maggie Haberman, the longtime Trump watcher in the New York Times calls to the race Trump ./. DeSantis an interesting aspect that for Trump is advantageous: Trump has something of a psychological advantage in much of the Republican Party, and particularly in its electorate. He is obviously measured by other standards than DeSantis and other applicants for the candidacy.  Habermann quoted Liam Donovan, a Republican strategy expert, stating, “The voters judge Trump different, make exceptions with regard to his statements and behavior – consciously or unconsciously.” In contrast, will DeSantis, the former congressman and current governor by the standards of the typical politician, as did all those who unsuccessfully tried in 2016 to Trump to stay in the primaries. Rob Stutzman from the Public Affairs Agency in Sacramento, CA recommends DeSantis, his previous tactics in dealing with Trump to change: "Only Trump can the Trump-Take a curve." DeSantis have tried so far Trump "Trumping" without realizing that he's being judged for a fairly conventional curve. (, 22.4.2023:  Maggie Haberman:"DeSantis Faces Republican Scrutiny on Issues While Trump Skates By").

A tactical error may also have been that DeSantis, just like the other possible candidates, after the indictment against Trump put immediately behind this. This makes them dependent and, above all, costs time, because at some point they have to Trump than attack their opponent. But when is the right time? You tied your own hands. 

All in all, the risk seems to be that Biden received when he declared his candidacy again at the age of 80, to be available but calculable. Thomas Spang, the USA correspondent of the Heilbronn voice wrote: "The oldest presidential hopeful in history is betting that Americans will risk aging rather than returning." Donald Trumps to power" (Heilbronn voice, April 26.4.2023, XNUMX: "Biden's bet"; comment by Thomas Spang).

An important point speaks Christian Zaschke, the correspondent of Sueddeutsche Zeitung in New York on, namely the role of Vice President Kamala Harris in case that Biden elected to a second term. She will then no longer be able to remain in the background, as she has mostly done up to now and as is usual with vice presidents. "In a possible second term, however, she could break with an old rule." (, April 25.4.2023, XNUMX: “The difficult role of the Kamala Harris").

With that, I want to conclude the comments on the current political situation in the USA and turn to the real focus of this paper, the campaign topic "culture wars   

Culture War – The battle over how Americans think and feel

Culture War - that sounds similar to the Kulturkampf in Prussia in the second half of the 19th century. Both disputes were and are about political power. But there are differences between the current Culture War in the United States and the Kulturkampf in Prussia, which escalated there from 1871 onwards. wanted in Prussia Bismarck break the power of the Catholic Church in the state. "Politically, the main concern in Germany was the separation of the state from the Catholic Church in its legal and political dimensions, as well as the influence of the organized Catholic minority," it says Wikipedia”. “In the Kulturkampf, the representatives of two competing worldviews – conservative and liberal – clashed. On the part of the state, efforts were made to implement a liberal policy that intended a separation of church and state and advocated the introduction of civil marriage in Prussia.”

The historian Golo man noted in his brilliant work "German History of the XIX. Century” on the Prussian Kulturkampf, one could only shrug one’s shoulders at the famous dispute today. However appreciates Golo man parts of the so-called culture war laws, for example, compulsory civil marriage: "This legislation made sense insofar as it attempted to draw a line between church and state." Man however, denoted the Culture War Laws as "clumsy" insofar as they tried to control what was the business of the church: the education of the clergy, the appointment of pastors, the church's disciplinary powers; and there was almost nothing left of it.

Remarkably Golo mans Conclusion at the end of the Kulturkampf, in which the Pope also played a major role: "If the dispute between states is mostly nonsense and, if the partners in the game only wanted to, could just as well be broken off, the same may well also apply where spiritual powers interact wrestle For spirit does not fight with spirit. He is the positive. What fights with each other are people, and then of course things are more human.” (Golo man"German History of the XIX. century”; Gutenberg Book Guild, Frankfurt am Main 1958; page 437 ff).

"Spirit does not fight with spirit" - an excellent transition to the current one Culture War in the United States. The line of battle of this “war” in America runs quite differently and one could say in exactly the opposite direction. There, the conservatives have set out to push back the influence of the liberals and their ideas about the rights of minorities in state and society. They fight against everything they wokay appears: modern, tolerant, diverse, left-wing, socialist or even communist. "Today" should be preserved, but if possible a return to "yesterday" should be possible.

Wikipedia refers to the meaning of the term Woke on the definition dictionary: "Highly politically committed against (especially racist, sexist, social) discrimination". For conservatives and right-wingers in the US, these terms are suspect and to be rejected and the term Woke is not positively occupied by them but negatively and sarcastically. Ron De Santis, the governor of Florida and beacon of hope for parts of the Republicans, has risen to the top of the Culture Warrior and the direction given: “Florida is where Woke goes to die!" — Freely translated: "Florida shall Woke hunt down!" 

woke is a vague term. The Conservative Author Bethany Mandel was asked at a recent book launch to define the term and she stuttered. The conservative NYT columnist Ross Douthat asked whether it would help at all Woke to define or whether it is not merely a derogatory word from the right-wing (, 18.3.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX; Ross Douthat"What It Means to Be Woke?"). In the current political debate Woke has become a negative stamp for people who are not right-wing conservatives. This can be turned into a highly emotional election campaign, but in the end nobody really understands its socio-political dimension. Looking back at the Prussian Kulturkampf experience 150 years ago, it is difficult to understand why the Americans think they should have one now Culture War to have to lead.

The Culture Warrior – above all Ron De Santis – proceed in a difficult, even downright perfidious manner: They want to redesign the education system according to their ideas – to a certain extent clean it up so that schools and colleges only teach and learn what corresponds to the traditional “American way of life”. In Prussia it was about the structures of state and society. In the USA it is now about the minds, the attitudes and the feelings of the coming generations. In both cases it was or is about power and control of people, but on a completely different level. Charles M Blow, a columnist of New York Times described the confrontation with the right-wing censors as the “battle of the century.” This sounds quite dramatic, but shows that the Culture War will be a long process – if the Culture warriors not be expelled from the field by the voters. Blow quoted Chris Rufo, one of the strategists of America's right-wing who Twitter had proclaimed: “Conservatives must now shift the struggle from ideology to bureaucracy” (meaning that it is about making laws, legal bases, regulations, so that the bureaucracy can “act”). “We have the debate about them Critical Race Theory (CRT) won; now it's time DEI to grow apart."  DEI stands for Diversity, equity, inclusion - Diversity, equity and the inclusion of all in society - a goal of liberal and progressive forces in American politics, not least the vast majority of Democrats. This is not only about material redistribution but also about the granting of rights and legal equality. The American right has not only wanted to prevent or at least slow down such developments since today: “They started with the Critical Race Theory, then it went against them LGBTQ community and now they take all areas of Black Studies on point. It won't be long before they include all ethnic disciplines and will continue to do so Diversity, equity and Inclusion attack in private companies Kimberle Crenshaw, a professor at University of California (UCLA) and at the ColumbiaUniversity. (On that these fears are justified and what is going on in Florida what is already being done in this direction is yet to be discussed. However, I agree with the statement Chris Rufo, the right would have the debate about the Critical Race Theory already won, for hasty).

Charles Blow describes the strategic plan of the New Right in complicated terms. This aims to fight with might and main for the restoration and strengthening of structures controlled by forces of white supremacism, organized patriarchally and heterosexually, and in which the sex of birth corresponds to the current sex. He cites the no less complicated formulation of Kimberle Crenshaw: "This one thing will not be enough for them. It is merely a skirmish in a larger and broader battle aimed at Rassismus and ultimately to rein in the strength of black people, gay people, women and ultimately anyone who holds the idea of ​​the MAGA-troop that wants to retake the country." (, 22.2.2023; Charles M Blow: "America, Right-Wing Consors, and the 'Battle for the Next Century'").   

In view of this complicated formulation, it is clear that the UCLA professor Kimberle Crenshaw has been dealing intensively with the situation of Afro-Americans and other minorities in America for a long time. The starting point of their investigations was the still widespread Racism.  From this she developed the Critical Race Theory, which basically assumes that Rassismus in America no psychological problem is not rooted in the minds of individuals, but a problem that has become deeply embedded in the structures of society and its institutions. Therefore, the representatives of the Critical Race Theory with many areas of the American system and in some cases criticize the excesses of the racism – nor the assassination of George floyd in 2020 in Minneapolis, MN also in the police, in the military and in public administration. This makes the Critical Race Theory not only an object of scientific discussion, but also the target of violent rejection and even hatred among the right-wing in the USA, because they deny the structural causes of the Rassismus and therefore reject the demands for fundamentals Change vehemently in society. The Republican Congressman ChipRoy from Texas introduced a bill two years ago that would eliminate the Department of Defense's Diversity and Inclusion Officer.   

Kimberle Cranshaw describes these clashes as "the battle of the next century." (, 22.2.2023; Charles Blow"America, Right-Wing Censors, and the 'Battle for the Next Century'").

Subchapters: The "Critical Race Theory"

Quotations and explanations from the report New York Times from 8.11.2021; Jacey fortin"Critical Race Theory: A Brief History". How a complicated and expansive academic theory developed during the 1980s has become a hot-button political issue 40 years later.

“About a year ago (this report is dated 8.11.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX), although the United States was already aware of protests against Rassismus were recorded, many Americans had the term "Critical Race Theory" never heard. 

But now this term is popping up everywhere. He makes national and international headlines and has become the target of talk shows. culture battles over the Critical Race Theory has turned school boards into battlefields and in higher education the term has been muddled in a number of battles. "Dozens of senators have branded it 'activist indoctrination'.

But the CRT - an acronym that is often used - is not new. It is an academic framework for the higher education level that has been describing the content of scientific education for decades – which is precisely why it is so difficult to find a satisfactory answer to the question: what exactly is it critical race theory?”

There is broad agreement that the notion of Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, a legal scholar at the UCL A. and at the columbia university, was minted. The first beginnings of this approach to thinking and research were already in 1980 at the Harvard Law School, as a Professor Derrick Bell — he becomes the godfather of crt called – came to the conclusion that the Rassismus ingrained in many areas of American society, it is a structural problem. Prof. Bell and his students protested the lack of diversity in the faculty in 1983 Harvard Law: There were 60 law professorships at the school: only one of them was occupied by a woman and only one was “black”. Even then, the narrow boundaries for the teaching and study of law were recognized. Its neutrality has been questioned and attempts have been made to widen the field and, in particular, to examine how existing legislation supports racial hierarchies. In addition Prof Crenshaw: It was our job to examine what was being taught in the institutions and help them transform into truly equal bodies.”

Legal scholars had already begun to critically examine and change parts of their field of study 40 years ago. It was important to understand the various causes of the Rassismus in the United States to identify and remedy. Ultimately, this resulted in Critical Race Theory. The structural causes of Rassismus came to the fore in research and teaching. However, anyone who wants to change structures will sooner or later get into conflict with politicians.   

Prof. Mari Matsuda from the University of Hawaii compares the disputes about the crt with the debates about global warming: “We have a serious problem that requires major structural changes, otherwise we will doom future generations to catastrophe. Our inability to think in structures, in the consciousness of caring for one another, becomes our undoing - be it with the problem of Racism, of Climate catastrophe or peace in the world.”

But what does the scientific field of Critical Race Theory for several years to the battlefield of culture warrior, above all the governor of Florida and the political leadership there? Prof.. Kimberle Crenshaw notes that the conservative right in the United States crt not accepted as a field of science but labeled as a subversive system of ideas because it sees its interests in jeopardy. Sooner or later, the demand for structural changes leads to political disputes and ultimately to changes in political and social power structures. Exactly because of Rassismus rooted so deeply in America, conservative forces are working against such changes by various means; For example, by changing electoral regulations or closing well-being bars in "black" residential areas in order to protect those affected by the Rassismus make it difficult to choose. Influencing the content of teaching and learning in schools, colleges and universities is another means of preventing the critical view of society in the bud, so to speak. 

Governor Ron De Santis said about the CRT Scientist: "The "woke class" wants to teach our children to hate each other instead of teaching theirs to read.” He labeled the Critical Race Theory as “state-sanctioned Racism". The treatment and application of Critical Race Theory was approved by the State Education Commission in Florida forbidden. Crenshaw opposes that, in Florida employ an age-old tactic: simply claim, acknowledging that it Rassismus there, be too racist.

From a European or German point of view, it is difficult to understand the intensity of what is raging in the USA Culture War to understand teaching and learning content in educational institutions. Some people still have trouble accepting that slavery is a very dark chapter in American history. Silence, color nicely, work up or compensate for the consequential damage? The advocates of Critical Race Theory touched a sensitive nerve in some Americans. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned here that Europeans also helped to write the history of slavery in America.

About various details of Culture Wars in Florida I will report elsewhere.     

What will the future of the United States look like?

The one quoted before this subchapter NYT journalist Charles M Blow paints a bleak picture of the future of his country. Not gloomy in the areas of material goods and services, but above all gloomy when it comes to open and free thinking and people's opportunities for development. minorities have in blows Vision no good cards. If they don't behave quietly and covertly, they will be calmed down with pressure.

Thomas Jaeger, Professor of International Politics and Foreign Policy at the University of Cologne points to a strange contradiction in American domestic politics and this should not only apply to America. Hunter addresses the very unequal distribution of wealth (and poverty) in America: In American democracy, the majority should actually benefit from economic developments because they can elect and vote out political decision-makers. But why is it that only very few people get the lion's share of economic success? Hunter sees the reason for this in the fact that over time, questions of identity have been pushed to the fore in social and political discussions, to which there are no longer any uniform answers. "Who are we? What makes the USA special? Why is the US unique? There were and are - which is not surprising - very different answers. However, since the XNUMXs, these responses have diverged to the point of being mutually exclusive." (Thomas Jaeger"The End of the American Age"; Special edition of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn (2020; page 60/61).

Thomas Jaeger names various battlefields of the Kulturkampf that have become unbridgeable:

  • While demands were made on the left for legal guarantees of sexual freedom and differentiation of gender identity, the right declared that there are only two sexes and that abstinence is the best method of contraception.
  • While on the left there were calls for drastic measures to be taken to counteract climate change to mitigate its effects, on the right denied that human activity had anything to do with climate change; yes, they denied climate change themselves.
  • While on the left a restriction on gun purchases was demanded and some even wanted to abolish the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees private gun ownership, the right saw the end of all freedom and security and thus a significant part of their security at risk.
  • While the political left the theory of evolution from Charles Darwin as scientifically proven wanted to see it taught in school (and also advocated a subject called "sex education"), the political right rejected this on principle and demanded that the creation of the world by God (creationism) to teach.

"And so on and so forth," writes Hunter and thus indicates that there are other basic assumptions in American society that the two sides do not want to accept as "self-evident" and "clarified", but believe that these must be decided politically.

“All the issues were black and white, there was no intersection to agree on because both sides are fully convinced that they have the truth. There was and is no longer any discussion, only hatred for each other because each side accused the other of wanting to destroy the country.” 

In American history, noted Hunter in his elaboration, culture wars were repeatedly waged along different fronts. "In the earlier centuries along religious lines - above all in strict anti-Catholicism - and today along ideological fronts on which the cultural conservatives and the cultural progressives are at war in a fight for the prevailing morality. Long before the echo chambers began to amplify the public's repercussions, this confrontation was seen as irresolvable, as a process destroying social cohesion... (Thomas Jaeger"The End of the American Age" op.cit. page 66).

Also in the current one Culture War It's about moral issues, what makes America what it is, and the "Un-American", which must be fought with all might. How did they see founding fathers the country and especially how not? It is about the "right" and the "wrong" interpretation of American history. How do we get back to the roots of our mission as chosen Country? who is a true american Patriot and who doesn't? Questions upon questions to which there are no clear answers cannot exist at all. Those who announce their ideas loudly and shrill enough have the public ear.   

The clear statements of Professor Thomas Jaeger, especially the juxtaposition of the battlefields between right and left in the USA that have become unbridgeable culture war, I was very impressed and gave some food for thought. I hold hunters Statements are important above all because they show that even in a democratically constituted state, not all interpersonal being, actions and omissions can be regulated by written norms, elections and votes. A society can set rules about the individual rights and duties of its citizens and also about their rights and duties towards their fellow citizens. But you cannot order what people are allowed to think and believe and what not. A democratic society lives not least from a series of unwritten rules of interpersonal respect and mutual tolerance. These unwritten rules can only be effective if they are taken for granted. If you want to force their acceptance, you will achieve the opposite.

As mentioned at the beginning of this reflection, the Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia - She's now in the senior ranks of the Republican House faction ascended – recently ascended Twitter publicized the notion of a "division of the nation" into "red" and "blue" states. A division of the United States, in which the states with different economic and constitutional structures live together under the umbrella of the Union only in name. (, 5.3.2023; David FrenchTake Threats of 'National Divorce' Seriously"). 

True is Taylor Greene not a competent and serious constitutional lawyer, but she is one of the "loud" in the country and this makes her dangerous. From the suggestion of Taylor Greene speaks in my opinion equal parts defiance and resignation. The extreme right GOP, to them Taylor Greene are to be expected have maneuvered themselves into a political corner from which there no longer seems to be a sensible way out. Taylor Greene and others seem willing to divide the country and thus withdraw from world politics because they cannot or do not want to question their own ideology.

How difficult it is to define the topics of the Culture War are, and what effects these disputes have on political life in the USA Thomas B Edsall as follows in the New York Times: "Republican leaders are increasingly resorting to autocratic measures, using the controlling powers of government to enforce morally sound regulations, turning private citizens into controllers and excluding elected Democrats who resist while Republicans on the... At the county level — especially in the western states — elect militia members, Christian nationalists, and key QAnon supporters.” (, 12.4.2023; Thomas B Edsall"The Republican Strategists Who Have Carefully Planned All of This").

A tricky situation for a country that is facing major future challenges - not least due to climate change - which can only be solved through global cooperation. But the political opponents currently seem unable to agree on the fundamentals of their country. The argument about the question "Who are we and who do we want to be?" is conducted relentlessly. But what sense does it make Culture War to win – if this is even possible? The world's strongest economic and military power indulges in an almost merciless debate over the historical account and the economic and social consequences of slavery in America. Also the question of whether it is allowed to talk or even teach about the sexuality of people in kindergartens and schools. Or about which books are allowed in school libraries and which are not. And also about whether or not transgender girls and women are allowed to participate in sports groups for women. In North Dakota On March 11.3.2023, XNUMX, a law came into force that excludes trans girls and women from all relevant sports groups and teams - from kindergarten to college. In order to prevent such regulations, the federal government is planning a law that will allow such exclusions in schools, but excludes a comprehensive "through-the-bank ban". Legal disputes are inevitable (, 12.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "North Dakota Bars Trans Girls and Women From Female Sports Teams"). But the legislature in North Dakota adds one more: there are now half a dozen more Trans and Gender Laws advise. The Republican governor explained the decision to exclude trans girls and women Doug Burgum on the sidelines of his signature under the two laws that he was not aware of any case in which a trans girl wanted to take part in a women's team. But the law machine is running - in case of doubt for its own supporters. When in doubt, it's not primarily about fairness in sport but about excluding people who shouldn't exist because they don't want to fit into the worldview of some politicians. 

These days it's exciting and difficult at the same time to get over that Culture War back and forth to write to the Republicans. You imagine yourself in a situation like in a fairy tale rabbit and the hedgehog:  No sooner has one topic been “completed” than another pops up in the headlines. That's what I wanted Kevin McCarthy with its razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives behind the LGBT Q fighters not lag behind in the individual states. On April 20.4.2023th, XNUMX it did House passed a law banning transgender women and girls from competing in sports. That was already a month ago House passed a rule requiring schools to publish their library catalogs and curriculum, and to obtain parental consent if students change any gender-related suffixes (pronouns) in the name (My comment: What for a tremendously important task for the US House of Representatives).

The vote on the law. The regulation of who is allowed to do sports in female teams and who is not, ran along the party line: 219 Republicans for - 202 Democrats against. This was the latest attempt House Republican, addressing a weighty social issue that is affecting their grassroots and one that is on the minds of Republican state lawmakers. "We are in a fight for the survival of women's sport," said the Republican MP Aaron Beans from Florida in the debate. Democrats called the law the "hateful" and "insidious" part of a "radical" program for education that Republicans won their majority in the first few months House advance. “The bill has no chance of getting through the Democrat-controlled Senate or through the President Biden to be signed,” she notes New York Times (, April 20.4.2023, XNUMX: “House Passes Bill to Bar Transgender Athletes From Female Sports Teams”).

And the Hare and hedgehog race goes on: Being the first state to have Missouri recently passed legislation making counseling and medical treatment for transgender people (gender care) of all ages is severely restricted. In at least five states, Republicans have introduced legislation that gender care for minors and young adults. In part, it is to be banned for everyone under the age of 21 and in part for people under the age of 26 (, April 22.4.2023, XNUMX: “Many States Are Trying to Restrict Gender Treatments for Adults, Too”).              

Abortion and same-sex marriage are no longer popular - new topics are needed!

After many years of heated arguments, the abortion opponents have achieved a stage success. On June 24.6.2022th, XNUMX it went through Trumps Appointments made by the conservative majority of the judges of the Supreme Courts the fundamental decision Roe vs Wade From 1973 on - overnight in America there was no longer a legal basis for women to have an abortion unless there was legal protection at the state level. In their regulatory competence Supreme Court the subject of abortion is now referred to. 

In my blog post “The "red wave" didn't materialize... “ of January 12.1.2023, 8.11.2022, I showed how the victory of the abortion opponents often turned into a Pyrrhic victory for their Republican supporters in the midterm elections on November XNUMX, XNUMX. Republican Party candidates (GOP), who went into the election campaign with the issue of abortion often lost to their democratic opponents. something like that Herrschel Evans in the race for the Senate seat Georgia or Kari Lake, those in the gubernatorial election in Arizona lost These defeats have long-term political effects not least because Evans and Brine of Donald Trump had been strongly supported. It didn't help - on the contrary: Because of their defeats, too Trump weakened in the coming conflicts. Many election observers assume that the repeal of Roe vs Wade contributed significantly to the Republicans not being able to achieve the great victory they had hoped for on November 8.11.2022th, XNUMX.

About the unexpected effects of the judgment of the abortion opponents Supreme Court in the state North Carolina reported the New York Times under the headline: “How the Fall of Roe Turned North Carolina Into an Abortion Destination". The political situation there is confusing. Republicans do have the majority in Parliament North Carolina has a Democratic governor. Also in North Carolina were the abortion opponents immediately after the repeal of Roe vs Wade from durch Supreme Court enthusiastic, only to find out a short time later that their state had become a travel destination for women from surrounding states: "The license plates are off Tennessee, Georgia and even off Texas", is written in Times report. "In April 2022, in North Carolina 3.190 abortions performed. After Roe vs Wade fell in June 2022, that number rose to 4.360. The largest percentage increase of any state. "Unpleasant scenes play out in front of the door handles, for example when abortion opponents and abortion supporters rake each other with megaphones." Governor Roy Cooper had already issued an order last year to ensure safety in the area of ​​clinics.

How was it in North Carolina came to this? With the decision of Supreme Court from June 24.6.2022, XNUMX, the state did not fall into a law-free area that could have been closed by a quickly passed state law. North Carolina already had an older law that allowed abortions up to 20 weeks and "became the go-to place for people from states where it's totally or mostly banned." The Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives from North Carolina has announced a rule that will only allow abortion up to the 12th week. The governor has announced his veto against any restriction. A representative of the organization Planned Parenthood South Atlantic expects the “toughest battle” of her life (, 4.3.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: “How the Fall of Roe Turned North Carolina Into an Abortion Destination").

In the neighboring South Carolina The Republican majority in the state Senate passed a ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. The clashes in South Carolina received national attention primarily because five female senators (the sister senators) - three from the Republicans and two from the Democrats - resisted and one filibuster staged. However, the law passed after two of the three Republicans agreed to a compromise that allows for exceptions. But the six-week period remained in the law. A court stopped the entry into force of the law on May 26.5.2023, XNUMX (, 23.5.2023/6/XNUMX: "South Carolina Senate Passes XNUMX-Week Abortion Ban";, 26.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Judge Puts South Carolina Abortion Ban on Hold").  

Still such and similar experiences - also in the course of the disputes about same-sex marriage - it is no wonder that conservative organizations and the Republicans after promising topics in the Culture War seek. In 1977 it was with the campaign "Save Our Children with the singer Anita Bryant still possible in Dade Miami County in Florida  to bring down legislation designed to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In this field, however, the attitude of the population has differentiated and in some cases changed significantly. In 2022, an opinion poll by a bipartisan institute found that 68 percent of respondents — including 49 percent Republicans — accept same-sex marriage. "We realized we had to find a topic that our candidates would feel 'comfortable' talking about," he said Terry Schilling, the president of the social conservative activist group American Principles Project. The population group LGBTQ became more and more the focus of culture warrior, the discussions on the topic transgender identity – especially among young people – became more and more violent. One Pew poll found that 58 percent of Americans agreed that transgender athletes should only compete on teams matching their gender at birth; in other words, transgender female athletes were excluded from competition. 

There are approximately 1,3 million adults and 300.000 children in the United States who identify as transgender. A new, emotionally chargeable topic seemed to have been found. Breathtaking stories could and can be told about all the possible dangers that this small minority poses to American society with around 332 million inhabitants. "It may be easier for Republicans like Trump and DeSantis, talking about transgender women rather than abortion, an issue that was once a mainstay of the conservative movement,” wrote the New York Times. The election results in November 2024 will have to show how far the new topic of the Culture War actually wears. So far it has American Principles Project brought thousands of new donors, most of whom transferred small amounts. “They cater to the same resentments and cultural schisms that the Trump-Movement drives: incantations against the so-called , Distrust of science, parental dissatisfaction with public schools because of Covid 19 - Closures and attitudes towards elites.” Little people give little donations because they feel they have to protect their children from some kind of danger. Your worries are fueled. But do transgender people actually threaten other people's children? Or is it just a new topic that conservative candidates can talk about "comfortably"?

Meanwhile, 20 states - all with Republican majorities - have passed legislation that goes well beyond the original issue of toilet access and the treatment of sex issues in schools. Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida, an organization that fights discrimination against - People fights sees a direct line of connection from the target group of the right - transgender children - to other socio-political issues that are citing parental rights be mentioned: The ban on books and the ban on teaching and learning content about Racism (, April 16.4.2023, XNUMX: “How a Campaign Against Transgender Rights Mobilizes Conservatives”).

As of January 2023, only 3 states had laws that banned, in whole or in part, counseling and performing gender reassignment surgery on youth under the age of 18—among them Florida and Arizona. In the meantime, 10 other states have been added in quick succession. Texas followed on 17.5. and Nebraska followed on May 19.5.2023, XNUMX. More states are in the starting blocks (, April 15.4.2023, XNUMX: “Bans on Transition Care for Young People Spread Across US”). The laws prohibit or restrict, among other things, the use of puberty blockers, conversion surgery, and the supply of Gender affirming care – accompanying young people in the long, multi-step process of moving from the gender assigned at birth to the gender they feel they belong to. Even the name Gender affirming care is complicated and difficult to explain. The required steps cannot be laid down in general terms. Gender affirming care however, is strongly recommended by all major medical organizations in the US "to save lives" (, April 21.4.2022, 10: “What is gender-affirming care?). The fact that such prohibition laws were passed in a short space of time in XNUMX states raises a number of questions: What impact did this have on the due diligence in deliberating these laws? Could the complicated scientific connections of the gender affirmation be taken into account? Could the legislators actually do justice to the needs of those affected in their "fast run" or were these laws only intended for their own grass roots?

Of course, one cannot generally disagree with the statement that parents have rights. It is probably for this reason that conservatives like to use this term when it comes to banning books in school libraries, banning certain teaching and learning content in schools and suppressing unwanted knowledge, the New York Times firmly. "But really, these 'parental rights' are about giving some parents the right to dominate everyone else.", 28.3.2023; Jamelle Bouie"What the Republican Push for 'Parents Rights' Is Really About").

Also in this subject area Culture Warrior headwind. The LGBTQ protection organization GLAAD effect Florida already sued and at some point such a suit will be submitted to the US Constitutional Court for review Supreme Court in Washington DC land. Well-known athletes have also not given notice of protest. Dwyane Wade, a former star of the basketball team Miami Heat, wants out Florida move away. The family has a teenage transgender daughter. Louis Hamilton, the seven-time champion of the Formula 1, had before Miami Grand Prix on 7.5. announced that they wanted to ride there with the rainbow colors on their helmets. 

But Ron De Santis is unfazed by protests and lawsuits. His advice to affected parents sounds almost cynical: “If you have an underage child, you shouldn’t have a gender reassignment done. You shouldn't be on puberty blockers. That's wrong, and we're glad we got all of this in Florida could stop." (, May 5.5.2023, XNUMX: "Florida Legislature Passes Bill Banning Gender-Transition Care for Minors";, 17.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: “Texas Legislature Bans Transgender Medical Care for Children”;, May 19.5.2023, XNUMX: “Nebraska Votes to Restrict Abortion and Transgender Care for Minors”).

Book bans - what children and young people are allowed to read and learn - and what not ...

Several states – including again Florida - took or are targeting the teaching and learning content in schools and colleges. Lists of "banned" books are drawn up and "clean men and women" examine classic works of art to see whether they could be sexually seductive or even dangerous for children. The protection of minors serves as a justification. The books are not burned, but what Heinrich Heine 1823 in his drama Almansor wrote it down comes to mind: “This was just foreplay. Wherever you burn books, you end up burning people.”

As an example, I want the disputes in North Dakota where two laws are about to be passed that would allow library controls and, in some cases, even threaten staff with jail. The drafts in North Dakota are not the only attempts in the United States to control what young people are allowed to learn and what adults are allowed to think by controlling libraries. North Dakota However, shows an example of how the Culture Warrior realize this and, above all, how to justify the control of books ideologically. The aim of control is easy to describe: It is about maintaining power for one's own group, movement or party and suppressing political opponents to whom nothing good and, above all, everything bad is ascribed. The idea of ​​having to control people's thoughts and feelings almost inevitably follows from this. Art and culture quickly became the declared goal of the Culture warriors:  Anything is welcome "ours“ Conforms to expectations; is forbidden what the ideas of the "Others" is equivalent to. Young people should not be able to find out about this. This should not be taught in colleges.        

One of the two bills in North Dakota wants to ban public libraries from owning or lending books that contain sexually explicit content. The draft describes what is meant by this and ranges from illustrations, descriptions of sex scenes in films to information for teenagers describing puberty. Libraries are required to develop a process by January 1, 2024 with the aim of building up a stock of books that is appropriate to the age and maturity of the users and the purpose of the library. In the report of New York Times it is noted that the draft law does not provide any guidance as to what is to be understood by "purpose of the library" or how the term "age and maturity appropriate" is to be interpreted. 

The second draft law will have an even greater reach – a project by the Senate of North Dakota. It prohibits facilities accessible to minors from displaying "indecent material"... in a manner that appeals to sexual desire or perversion. I don't want to go into the description of what is defined as "offensive material" here. In the New York Times it is noted that even an illustration or the description of the Venus de Milo could fall under. “By these laws is North Dakota becoming the pattern for communities, cities, and states that want to censor not just their libraries but their citizens as well.” The Senate bill provides for violators to be punished with up to 30 days in jail and a $1.500 fine can.

It goes against literature and art

After specifying the American Library Association Between January and August 2022, there were 68 attempts to ban library holdings or limit their use. 1.651 book titles were attacked; in 2021 there were 1.597 titles. The explanation for this is remarkable PEN America: 41 percent of the books indexed in the 2021-22 school year were about LGBTQ issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer). Similar laws as in North Dakota planned, were in West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Missouri and Indiana already adopted or are still being discussed. In implementing the new regulations, some school districts have Missouri works over Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, comics like Batman and x man, Illustrations to works by Shakespeare and Mouse - an illustrated novel about the Holocaust, the the Pulitzer Prize has received is indexed as “expressively sexual material”.

Commented with an ironic undertone Taylor Broby - he has written a book entitled "Boys and Oil: Growing up Gay in a Fractured Land" - in a guest article in the New York Times the zeal of the new fighters for a clean America: "But to be honest: These laws are not primarily about Venus de Milo in sight. It's about books LGBTQ Stories tell and it's about books by LGBTQ Writers – the kind of books that have given many gay young people a hold when they needed it most. I don't know how I would have ended up if I hadn't been able to read myself out of despair. It breaks my heart to think that all these youngsters today don't have that opportunity." (, 24.2.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "The Real Reason North Dakota Is Going After Books and Librarians"). 

How abstruse, but also relentless Culture War is conducted, shows a report in the Heilbronn voice: When it became known that the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a contract with the brewery group Anheuser-Busch has completed the beer brand Bud Light to promote broke among supporters of Donald Trump a storm of outrage ensued and it became a boycott of Bud Light called. On Twitter there was a short clip in which the musician and Trump-Fan Kid Rock with a gun on several boxes full Bud Light – Shoots beer cans. (Heilbronn voice, April 14.4.2023, XNUMX: "Beer brand gets into a culture war"; further:, April 14.4.2023, XNUMX: "Behind the Backlash Against Bud Light's Transgender Influencer")   

Carolin Emcke —  she was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2016 - describes what is in Florida under governor DeSantis is advanced, in a word: Censorship. Emcke quoted in her column in the Süddeutsche Zeitung the writer Salman Rushdie, who noted in 2012: “Censorship in its most effective form succeeds in replacing truth (…) with lies. The final victory of censorship is achieved when people can no longer imagine an uncensored world.” That's it Florida not (yet), yes Carolin Emcke sees the state in the southern United States on the way there. “Governor DeSantis presents each of these censorship measures with a flourish, as if they were a reconquista of liberty. Florida has become a laboratory for the illiberal restructuring of the democratic order, whose radical-conservative ideology behaves as anti-ideological.” And Emke laments that the spaces of learning and thinking in Florida shrink. It is obvious that the way people think and feel should be reversed. (, March 11.3.2023, XNUMX: “The ideologues practice censorship”; column by Carolin Emcke).

Given these developments, the comparison with Viktor Orbans Hungary definitely obvious that the columnist Michelle goldberg in the New York Times hires Goldberg refers to that special law of the Hungarian Parliament, with which the George Soros founded Central European University in Budapest was driven out of the country. “The fate of that university became the test case for whether liberalism had the tactical ability and emotional power to stand up to the new ideological enemy. "Liberalism, sadly, did not," Goldberg firmly. "Unfortunately, liberalism didn't make it."

Also Michelle goldberg draws a connecting line between Hungary and Florida: “Many on the American right admire how Orban uses state power to combat the culture of liberalism. But few imitate him as faithfully as the governor of Florida and possible Republican presidential nominee.” (, February 27.2.2023, XNUMX: "Florida Could Start Looking a Lot Like Hungary"; comment by Michelle goldberg).

The connecting line Goldberg between Florida and Hungary is particularly remarkable for us Europeans, because it allows us to understand what is currently going on in the United States in terms of social and cultural policy. We Europeans have been experiencing how for years Viktor Orban contrary to all European fundamental rights and values, is in the process of transforming his country into an "illiberal democracy". And Ron De Santis seems to have the same goal. Michelle goldberg refers to the draft law no. 999, which has since been introduced DeSantis wants to realize many of his far-reaching ideas about higher education. “Even measured by DeSantis standard it is a shocking piece of legislation that sledgehammers academic freedom,” writes Michelle goldberg in the New York Times.

And again and again "abortion"

The issue of abortion has now reached the state level and the judiciary. Much to the chagrin of some Republicans, because it blew their hoped-for big election victory in 2022. After a federal judge in Texas the 23 years ago by the Food and Drug Administration approval of the abortion pill mifepristone suspended - the decision was to come into force 7 days later - the legal dispute quickly ended up in the supreme court. On April 21.4.2023, XNUMX, the latter did not yet decide on the main issue, but - contrary to the decision of the court in Texas - that mifepristone is still available. This drug (in German: mifepristone) used in the US in combination with misoprostol administered at every second abortion. The ban of judges Matthew J. Kacsmaryk by the District Court for the Northern District of Texas at Amarillo did not achieve legal force for the time being. The one during the Trump-Presidency-appointed judge – an outspoken anti-abortionist who previously opposed the landmark ruling Roe vs Wade had written to in 1973 - has the justification mifepristone is dangerous - made easy and partly simply taken from the briefs of the abortion opponents. Now a decision on the "abortion pill" mifepristone suspended until further notice. "The final decision will probably not be made for months," she reports Suddeutsche Zeitung. "It's a sensitive issue for Republicans. The midterm elections last year showed that the controversy over abortion discourages moderate voters and especially female voters.” (, April 22.4.2023, 2024: “The abortion pill stays – for now”). As a result, this topic will continue to make headlines in the run-up to the XNUMX elections.

Also in the New York Times describes this calamity for Republicans: "Republicans in conservative states have been looking for a balance between grassroots pressure for further restrictions on abortion and broad support for abortion rights." a dilemma: "Some Republican leaders at the state level -- particularly those with national ambitions -- are now attempting a delicate balancing act on an issue that was once a touchstone in the party." Also governor Ron De Santis from Florida is concerned with his ambitions for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Despite the precarious situation, he recently signed a law that Florida prohibits an abortion after the 6th week of pregnancy. Critics of this tight deadline point out that women often do not even know for sure whether they are pregnant. "The law will probably help him court conservative and evangelical voters in the primary, but it could hurt him in the general election." (, April 21.4.2023, XNUMX: "Abortion has become politically fraught for Republicans"). Undoubtedly, this issue will also play an important role in the coming elections and put the Republicans under pressure.      

First assessment of the book censorship: chaos and unsettled teachers

The New York Times reports what happened in the first few weeks after the “library cleanliness laws” came into force at schools in Florida happened. One could sum up these first findings in a few words: chaos and unsettled teachers.

There is no doubt that book censorship and state control of art and culture are unusual political battle zones in a country that considers the right to freedom of expression, unrestricted access to information and freedom of the press to be high constitutional goods. That there are political forces in America that view controls and restrictions as legitimate and legislate to do so must be a cause for concern. How can one explain to the world that the fundamental values ​​and fundamental rights that western democracies demand of others are being curtailed in the United States of all places? How can you Viktor Orbans Hungary and other EU members who think little of basic European values, criticize them or even subject them to financial sanctions?

The New York Times reported in detail on April 22nd/23.4.2023rd, XNUMX about the current state of affairs after, above all, in Florida, but also in other states, regulations have been passed by which in particular books in school libraries and sometimes also in public libraries are to be locked up that deal with topics such as race, gender or sexual orientation. "A new level of fear has been created," said Kathleen Daniels, the President of Florida Association for Media in Education, a professionally oriented organization for school library staff and media educators. In a school district in Florida For example, the bookloved” the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Toni Morrison (1931 - 2019), which deals with the psychological consequences of slavery and the novel "The Handmaid's Tale", which was published in 1985 and 1990 by Volker Schlondorff was filmed under lock and key.  

Implementation of the new regulations took place in the 67 school districts in Florida very different. While there were no special actions in some districts, chaos broke out in others. In the Duval County to that too Jacksonville with almost 1 million inhabitants, the use of more than one million book titles was restricted until they were checked by specialists. In the martin county, located on the Atlantic coast, were in January and February d. J. 150 book titles no longer usable, including John Greens “Looking for Alaska” and James Pattersons “Maximum Ride”, a series of science fiction adventure books previously intended for ages 10 and over. They have now been banned for elementary schools. At some schools, teachers were particularly cautious. Titles that are in danger of being indexed were not even purchased. (, April 22/23.4.2023, XNUMX; "Florida at Center of Debate as School Book Bans Surge Nationally").

Nachdem Florida to the hot spot of Culture War and last but not least had become the battlefield of book censorship, it is not surprising that a first counter-movement was formed here. On May 17.5.2023, XNUMX, PEN was enough America, The Publisher Penguin Randomhouse, several authors and a group of parents at the District Court for the Northern Florida a lawsuit against Escambia County one on the grounds that their constitutional rights apply Article 1 of the First Amendment (Freedom of speech and opinion) and the principle of equality were violated. 

It all started when I was a teacher at the school board of Escambia Conty submitted a list of more than 100 books she said contained "naked ideology" to be reviewed for "excessively sexual content, their cruel language, and their vulgar and political statements." Among the book titles the teacher objected to were "And Tango Makes Three" A children's picture book based on a true story at the zoo Central Park in New York based. There, two male penguins raised a penguin baby together. According to the teacher, the book will LGBT Q Agenda promoted. It remained on the banned list. The school board in Escambia County has so far either removed 10 titles from the school libraries or made them only accessible to a limited extent. As a result, the eager teacher complained that not all books that she and others classified as “unsuitable for students” were indexed.

For example, the book "The Bluest Eye the Nobel Prize winner Toni MorrisonThe publisher is suing Penguin Random House. was also indexed "The House of Spirits" of Isabel Allende. A parent representative expressed concern that books on the subject in particular race, gender and sexuality be indexed. An important part of public education is that children also get to know ways of life that differ from their own (, 17.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Florida School District Is South Over Book Restrictions"; 19.5.2023; Michelle goldberg: “If You Care About Book Bans, You Should Be Following This Lawsuit”;, 17.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: “Florida School District Is South Over Book Restrictions”).

This may only be the beginning of a large number of lawsuits against school library censorship, which will now be dealt with in the courts. Perhaps – in addition to the ideological ideas – an ulterior motive was the Culture warriors: As long as the general public is concerned with school libraries, we are spared discussions of other political issues.

Pressure breeds counter-pressure – art and culture in times of hatred

At first I was surprised, in the middle of the political opinion section of the New York Times where conscientious and renowned journalists present their thoughts on fundamental questions, on war and peace in the world, to find a reflection on "The Power of Art in Political Times".  David Brooks, A NYT opinion columnist first explained what prompted him to write this reflection: “Like many people, I spend a lot of time involved in politics, in the predictable outbursts of parties, analyzing political campaigns that resemble horse races, and with the Trump scandal of the day. That's why I'm trying to counteract it. I flee to the arts.”

Brooks quotes the British philosopher Roger Scruton, who describes how the listener feels Mozart's Jupiter Symphony open the doors to joy and creativity... And he describes how Picasso's Paintings Guernica the pure horror, the universal suffering and also the bloodlust of the people. 

And then pulls Brooks the connection to politics, which he had wanted to escape with art: “I drag myself into the museums and fear that in the age of politics and technology, art has lost its importance in public life; we no longer discuss novels and artistic masterpieces as people did in the olden days. The literary worlds have dumbed themselves down with insular groupthink, and all of this has contributed to the dehumanization of American culture." (, March 2.3.2023, XNUMX:; David Brooks"The Power of Art in a Political Age").

David Brooks - he is described as a moderately conservative columnist - laments the powerlessness of American art and culture in our time. It is certainly debatable whether this was actually different in earlier times. But you can feel something Brooks Missing today: everything that art and culture can do to people. "It makes you look at the world more patiently - with more humility." But I'm afraid Books Complaints go unheard in the American political world - and beyond. In a world where there is little modesty but a lot of dogmatism. 

In North Dakota and in other US states, legislators spend a great deal of time and imagination describing in detail what images, illustrations, and descriptions of images are in the poison cabinets of the Culture War have to disappear. It is accepted that the Venus de Milo might be affected, which as an example of great Hellenistic art in the Paris Louvre stands. A collateral damage just in the name of "cleanliness" and to protect the children and young people, who are above all from the educational literature about the LGBTQ community wants to "protect". Possibly images of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" in North Dakota also disappear from the textbooks. The mockery about it is free - and sooner or later it will Culture War make a lot of work for the courts in America.

"Confusing art with pornography is just ridiculous," commented Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence. He was referring to an incident in the state Florida, where, according to press reports, a headmistress is said to have been fired because she had a picture of in a sixth grade art class Michelangelo's "David" had shown. Parents have complained about this Michelangelo's Artwork labeled as "pornographic". The Mayor of Florence has announced the teacher after Florence to invite “to give her their recognition on behalf of the city pronounce. Art is civilization and those who teach it deserve respect.” (, March 27.3.2023, XNUMX: "The Naked Madness";  Heilbronn voice, March 28.3.2023, XNUMX: "Dismissal because of the statue of David").

Florida, again and again Florida!  And again and again Ron De Santis, the governor of Sunshine State in the southern United States. DeSantis -- a ray of hope for many Republicans for 2024 -- has topped the conservatives Culture Warrior placed. In the following, three subject areas are described as examples:

  • The softening of parts of American history
  • The “reorientation” of higher education
  • The disputes with Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando

Florida: The Softening of Parts of American History

Ron De Santis has written a book called The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival and has embarked on a promotional spree as a kind of test run before announcing his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. He wants against Donald Trump into the race Yourself, which, according to all current surveys, is head and shoulders above the rest. (, 28.2.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: DeSantis Hits the Trail. Just Don't Call It a Campaign"). 

It is not possible at this point to go into all facets of the personality and political ideas of the governor of Florida to describe: Stricter abortion regulations, curtailment of the rights of minorities, especially LGBT Q-people, censorship of textbooks in schools and the "cleansing" of school libraries, supervision of teaching and research in secondary schools and permission to Florida Carrying firearms concealed—and to top it all off, DeSantis has the support of FoxNews. He rarely omits an issue dear to conservative Republicans. "The governor of Florida is trying to move to the right of Donald Trump to position,” writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung (, April 26.4.2023, XNUMX: Candidate wanted for far right"). 

The New York Times doubts that this strategy will work. “The questions are growing as to whether DeSantis is able to bring back the independent voters and the voters in the suburbs who Biden into the White House or whether the governor's extreme attitudes, not least on the subject of abortion, will repel the voters he promised to bring back" (, April 20.4.2023, XNUMX: DeSantis's Electability Pitch Wobbles, Despite GOP Losses Under Trump").

I was frightened, even repelled, by a new law that allowed the courts to Florida to make it easier to pass death sentences. In the future, the unanimous recommendation of the 12 jurors will no longer be required, but 8 votes will suffice. In almost every state that has the death penalty, the jury must unanimously approve the sentence. In Alabama 10 votes are required; in Indiana and Missouri the judge decides if the jury cannot agree. (, April 21.4.2023, XNUMX: "Florida Lowers Death Penalty Threshold"). After a publication of Amnesty International 18 people were executed in the US last year; in 2021 there were 11 cases (Heilbronn voice, May 17.5.2023, XNUMX: "Number of executions increases"). The title of DeSantis book indicates that Florida to become the testing ground for a conservative model state in the USA. In the end he will Sunshine State immer mehr Orban's Hungary same. 

Donald Trump started in 2016 with the slogan: "Make America Great Again" and added: "I Alone Can Fix It" - "Only I alone can save the country". The title of DeSantis' book sounds remarkably similar. DeSantis talks – similar to Trump – in an ambiguous language that everyone can understand as they like. He has declared against Woke Mind Virus what he calls a form of cultural Marxism - whatever that may be. (, 2.5.2023; Jamelle Bouie: "The 'Woke Mind Virus' Is Eating Away at Republicans' Brain").

But DeSantis and its parliamentary majority are not just talking, they have already enacted a whole series of concrete measures in the form of legislation. On May 4.5.2023th, 5, a law was passed that prohibits any type of sex reassignment treatment in minors and restricts it in adults. Doctors who do not obey this law face up to XNUMX years in prison. The New York Times describes this law as one of several measures that the LGBT . Q. community targeted. (, 5.5.2023/6/XNUMX: “Florida Legislature Passes Bill Banning Gender-Transition Care for Minors”). In April, Parliament passed a law that bans abortions from the XNUMXth week – “before many women even know that they are pregnant. (, April 14.4.2023, XNUMX: “Florida tightens abortion laws”). Became "famous" across the country Ron De Santis and Florida Republicans through their campaign against woke indoctrination, as they called the battlefield, which in practice developed into a politically heated quibble and censorship of pictures in school books. 

The New York Times describes in two detailed reports how the new process of reviewing social studies textbooks in Florida expired and what the results of these checks were. "The painstaking and detailed process of reviewing and approving textbooks has usually been a matter for the administration, employing education experts, publishing executives and government bureaucrats," one such report notes. "In Florida however, textbooks became highly political and part of the governor's campaign Ron De Santis against what he considered Woke indoctrination referred to - especially when it comes to "race" and "gender". Last year, the administration caused an uproar when dozens of mathematics textbooks were rejected on the grounds that they contained "prohibited topics", 10.3.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Florida Scoured Math Textbooks for 'Prohibited Topics.' Next Up: Social Studies”).

In the state guidelines for valuing the books, the "Critical Race Theory" particularly targeted. The ones from the conservative Florida Citizens Alliance Trained volunteer “auditors” had previously recommended rejecting 28 out of 38 books submitted, including over a dozen McGraw Hill books, one of the major American publishers. The Florida Citizens Alliance complained, for example, that a one McGraw Hill textbook for the 5th grade the term "slavery" is mentioned 189 times in one chapter alone. A textbook for the 8th grade was criticized for the fact that the subject "Native Americans" whose bad treatment is highlighted, without the acts of violence of the Native Americans to describe yourself, such as that Jamestown Massacre of 1622 in which more than 300 English colonists were killed. It is also noteworthy, as stated in advance of the presentation of the history of Rosa Parks – the African-American woman who, in 1955, Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person and was subsequently arrested - there was a heated argument over words and concepts. In the second version of the textbook, the skin color of Rosa Parks no longer mentioned. However, the publisher had already been dismissed by the authority for bureaucratic reasons prior to the examination and is now trying to get its textbook through in the examinations in other school districts.

On May 9.5.2023, 101, the results of the review of 82 submitted social studies textbooks were published. In the first round, 101 of the XNUMX textbooks were rejected on the grounds that they "contain inaccuracies, errors and other information that do not comply with the laws of Florida do not correspond.” After further negotiations with the publishers concerned about changes in the books, 66 of the 101 textbooks submitted were finally approved; 35 were also rejected after the second round. The report of New York Times Commenting on the impact of the testing process, “The list of approved social studies textbooks will have a significant impact on how history is taught in the nearly 3 million public schools on subjects such as Slavery, Jim Crow and Holocaust be treated". As Jim Crow Laws is a set of laws referred to in the period between the abolition of the slavery in the United States (1865) and the end of segregation after the enactment of the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Acts in force in the southern states in the mid-1960s (Wikipedia).

The New York Times quoted about it Adam Laats, a historian at the Binghamton University noting that for more than a century American publishers have revised textbooks to meet political concerns, sometimes using their razor blades to make statements on subjects such as Evolution or reconstruction to remove. The censorship of textbooks has often been called for by conservatives - and today he hears the announcements in Florida the echo of those ancient battles. Laats pointed out that state politicians, using the keyword "age appropriate," asked a publisher to remove the description of incidents at sporting events when athletes knelt while the national anthem was played. (, May 9.5.2023, XNUMX: “Florida Rejects Dozens of Sociel Studies Textbooka, and Forces Changes in Others”).

The described ideologically justified censorship measures of the school and educational authorities in Florida would have deserved a more in-depth presentation, since it is about the basic constitutional rights of Americans. As an example, I want to use the disputes between the authorities and the organization College Board report that because of their new teaching recommendations on the history of African Americans from Gouverneur DeSantis was violently attacked. It was and is particularly about the keyword Slavery; the ramifications of this part of US history are far from worked out. In Florida there have recently been heated debates about the contents of the "African American Studies Course the organization college board. I want to limit myself to keywords; a lesson on "Black History" would go well beyond the scope of this paper.

The organization "college board"

The College Board is an American non-profit examination board, founded in 1900 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) Founded. It administers various standardized tests primarily for students in American high schools. The most famous of them, the satellite is required by almost all American universities. The Commission's headquarters are in New York. However, there are another 14 branches in the USA and Puerto Rico. The current Chairman and CEO of the College Board   David coleman. (Wikipedia to the keyword college boards; Status: 1.2.2023)

To avoid misunderstandings: With the controversial - in Florida downright contested Advanced Placement Course in African American Studies It is not a test that asks about the level of knowledge of pupils and students. The emphasis here is on the key word Race. Various authors and scholars have contributed to individual subject areas in the history of Afro-Americans. These presentations contain the most important data, but also comments and critical questions. The Advanced Placement Course should encourage independent thinking and further research. It is aimed at high school students and students in college, i.e. young adults and not children and adolescents. Ultimately, questions such as: What may and should a course paper on the “Black History of the USA” contain and what not were debated and fought over? How should and may this still controversial part of American history be conveyed to young people and how not; especially young black people who have experienced racial discrimination themselves? For them about the fact that George floyd lost his life under the knee of a white police officer, a completely different meaning than for many of their white classmates. The New York Times columnist Charles Blow - even African American – describes what a 15-year-old black student in Orlando, FL. told when he stood with other students in a cemetery at the graves of black people who were murdered by white supremacists. About the grave of Julius "July" Perry, who went to the polling station on election day 1920 and was arrested there. Whites got him out of prison and lynched him. The cemetery tour was led by a former professor of the Florida International University under the motto "Teach the Truth organized. The 15-year-old spoke of the everyday fears of a black boy: "You can't prevent it, you just feel it." And he complains that so many know nothing about "his" story. Charles Blow wishes for the 600.000 students in Florida public schools teach history that engages them and doesn't make them feel afraid. He quotes almost as a contrast program Ron De Santis from an interview Fox News, in the DeSantis the material moisture meter shows you the Advanced Placement Course as rubbish and neo-Marxist indoctrination. (, 8.3.2023; Charles M BlowThe Other Children in the DeSantis Culture War"). For the governor of Florida and his education authority is obviously primarily concerned with politics and less with the freedom of research and teaching.

During the conversations with College Board asked the representatives Florida full of distrust, whether with the Course in African American Studies "Black Panther thinking" should be promoted. The accusation of "Woke indoctrination“ through the schools was again in the room. This is how the development of the Study course in Florida to the difficult tightrope act. The New York Times asked in one of their reports: "How to explain that the "queer studies", the study on sexual minorities in the African-American community and police brutality against black people were no longer mentioned, but black Republicans like Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice? " The College Board removed the names of many authors and scholars related to the critical race theory, zu queer topics or to do black feminism have. Also mentioning the keyword Black Lives Matter was withdrawn. For this, a new topic appeared: “Black Conservatism (, February 13.2.2023, XNUMX: "The College Board's Rocky Path, Through Florida, to the AP Black Studies Course").

In its reports, the New York Times detailed, as in the discussions between the representatives Florida and the College Board wrestled - not to say haggled - over details of African American history. A quote clarifies the deeper roots of these disputes, which are difficult to understand from a European or German point of view, but which in the USA can be used to ignite a highly emotional fire that can decide elections: “This is about more than just about what happens in a school class. Upbringing and education became the focus of a toxic political debate and in the decision of the college board, Developing a curriculum for one of the country's most contentious subjects - the racial history of America - was bound to be fraught with controversy. Last but not least, the arguments over this curriculum show that the United States is a country that cannot agree on its own narrative, especially on the history of black Americans.” (, 1.2.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "The College Board Strips Down Ist AP Curriculum for African American Studies").

In the Republican government Florida the authorities have interfered with all their might in these discussions and still do. Other states will follow. The result is a complex and aggressive mixture of scientific statements and political ideas about topics such as Slavery, civil war, northern states versus southern states, dealing with minorities in society and, and, and ...  The questions and problems raised here cannot be answered by laws, parliamentary votes or even censorship measures.

The headline of one of the reports of New York Times sums up the carousal I've described like this: "Who's Afraid of Black History?" The guest post with the title was written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., the director of Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

In fact, one can get the impression that the Conservatives in Florida fear a dangerous left-wing Marxist virus - all in all one woke Virus – that could creep into the minds of the younger generation. Similar to the 1950s when Joe mccarthy, the senator of Wisconsin, went on a communist hunt with a Senate subcommittee and put Hollywood actors, scientists and even the US Army through the wringer or even drove them out of the country. 

Henry Louise Gates Jr. quoted in his NYT-Guest post a word from dr Martin Luther King Jr.: No society can totally repress its ugly past if its repercussions linger on in the present.”

Florida - The reorientation of higher education

Who knows more about the ideological ideas of the culture warrior, want to read about the transformation of higher education in particular, the website of the Hillsdale College find. Florida Governor has close ties to this school in Michigan. Hillsdale College Founded in 1844 - a small, conservative, non-denominational Christian college with 1.573 students can be described as an elite school. The website proudly states that the college does not receive any government funding, even indirectly in the form of grants or loans. Please note, however, that donations are tax deductible.

On Hillsdale Website published is the summary of a lecture that Larry P.Arnn, the President of the College on 3.11.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX at a reception in Santa Clara, ca. has held. The title of the lecture: “Education as a Battleground” makes it clear what it is about Hillsdale and other Culture warriors goes: resistance to state influence on the upbringing and education of children - whether they actually exist or are only imagined or grossly exaggerated. “Who decides what children learn?” asks Arnn and specifically deepens his question: “Who decides what we explain to children about sex? ... Is this decided by professional educators pretending to be the experts? Or is that the responsibility of the parents, who can rely on their common sense and caring love?” 

The Hillsdale President transfers the old conservative demand for "less state" to education and from this develops a deep contrast between the parents' right to bring up children and the requirements of the "administrative state": public education is an important component in keeping the administrative system alive. “The roots of this system lie in Washington dc and its tendrils reach into every town and village that has a public school.” (Hillsdale College; Press Release 22.3.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX: Hillsdale College Hosts National Leadership Seminar, "America's Uncertain Future"; Larry P Arnn: “Education as a Battleground”; published in the college journal imprimis, November 2022, Volume 51, Issue 11).     

Such allegations aimed at the public education system are also in the statements of the governor of Florida to be found frequently. On January 31.1.2023, XNUMX, he announced that he would overhaul the state higher education system and – as he put it – eliminate “ideological conformity”. The main focus should be on the "West" and its economic system, as well as on the thinking of Western philosophers and on the culture of the Greeks and Romans. A course on Western Civilization is to be made compulsory. Critics of this plan point out that it aims to gloss over the weaknesses of Western thought and ignore the philosophers of non-Western civilizations. Diversity, equity and inclusion programs, such as those currently required to be considered in faculty design, will be banned and protections for teachers' in-service acquis will be dismantled. One consequence of this will be that teachers can be dismissed more easily.

In mid-February 2023, Republican members of the House of Representatives from Florida the now hotly debated draft of the "House Bill 999" put on the legislative path. In addition to administrative provisions for the school and education system, this broad law also contains regulations on the content of the curriculum. A governor-appointed board shall be given the power to review the legal status and ownership of each faculty member and shall be empowered to make ultimate hiring decisions regardless of faculty objections. 

Jamelle Bouie describes the new law in the New York Times as part of Governor's War DeSantis against the public education system and – as he keeps calling it – against the weekness The aim is to subject state colleges and universities to strict political control. The content of the guidelines for the design of the curriculum for the subject "American History" stipulates that the structure of the new nation should be described "in accordance with the universal principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence of 1776". To put it more comprehensibly: American history is to be presented as the great work of the founding fathers, in which there is nothing to criticize or condemn, or to put it another way: American history is to be conveyed as the construction of a perfect and "brave new world" in which everything was right and on that we still have to be proud of today.

Jamelle Bouie points out that this idea, and especially the reference to the Declaration of Independence, does not at all correspond to the conventional view of the history of the young nation. Bowie cites none other than Abraham Lincoln: „The assertion that all men were created equal had no practical meaning at secession from Britain and was built into the Declaration of Independence not for that reason - to justify secession - but for future times." Kermit Roosevelt III, Professor of Constitutional History at university of pennsylvania, formulated even more clearly: "Here the Declaration of Independence is misunderstood! The Declaration of Independence was neither a declaration of abstract human rights nor a declaration of concrete human rights. In the Declaration of Independence it was really easy Independence." (References:, 31.1.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "DeSantis Takes On the Education Establishment, and Builds His Brand";, 26.2.2023; Jamelle Bouie"1776 Is Not Just What." Ron DeSantis Wants It to Be”).

On March 9.3.2023th, XNUMX the American Historical Association (AHA), based on the signatures of 84 organizations, a strong statement on the draft of the Florida House Bill 999 published. In order to show the meaning of the letter of protest, I want to use the original English version of the AHA quote:

"We express horror (not our usual "concern") at the assumptions that lie at the heart of this bill and its blatant and frontal attack on principles of academic freedom and shared governance central to higher education in the United States. Florida's legislature has on its agenda a dagger to the heart of an American institutional framework that has long been the envy of the world (and a source of billions of dollars in revenue from international students”).

("We declare our dismay (not our usual "discernment") at the central assumptions of this bill and its blatant and frontal attack on the principles of academic freedom and shared control that are central to higher education in the United States. Floridas Lawmakers are planning a stab at the heart of an American framework that has long been the envy of the world (and is the source of billions of dollars in government revenue from international students).

American Historical Association (9.3.2023)

The post of AHA addresses both the unprecedented scrutiny of faculty over the treatment of American history and the ban on certain scholarly views, such as the Critical Race Theory to present in class. "The notion that racism is a central fact in American history -- and that it is ever present in institutions, cultures, and practices -- is undoubtedly mainstream historical teaching... It is remarkable that this House Bill 999 the term Critical Race Theory mentioned more often than the terms Democracy, Freedom and personal liberty together... This isn't just about Florida. It goes to the heart and values ​​of higher public education in the United States and on the role of history, historians, and historical consciousness in the lives of America's next generation" (SHS Statement Opposing Florida House Bill 999 (March 2023).

The severe criticism of American Historical Association, excerpts of which I have quoted here can be summarized in a series of questions:

 It is about these questions Florida:

  • Who has the right to determine how history is to be taught and interpreted?
  • How free are historians to research and publish, and how bound are teachers in their day-to-day work to use this or that interpretation?
  • How free is historical science and what can the authorities order?

In Florida a controversy has started that goes back to the times of Galileo Galilei remind. The only difference is that Galileo had to fear for his life, the historians in today Florida but only for her job.

DeSantis gets serious - the conversion of the New College of Florida

The governor of Florida and beacons of hope for parts of the Republican Party in America culture war speeches, he has begun to put into practice his ideas about the transformation of higher education. The remodeling of New College of Florida in Sarasota, Fla. is in full swing and has attracted national attention. The New York Times has reported on it several times. governor DeSantis set the goal that new college into a base of conservatism in the sense of Hillsdale to rebuild. The New College of Florida with around 700 students, it has so far seen itself as progressive and as a “community of freethinkers”. The government's plans Florida are labeled as an attack on academic freedom. 

Two facts may explain why this small and not very well known college was targeted by the Culture Warrior and should now become their field of experimentation:

  • The New College of Florida is considered by experts to be the most progressive school of the state's 12 public universities. However, it has difficulties in reaching enough students. DeSantis criticized the college's admission rules: Diversity and Equity – be that "ideological filter" designed to keep students out of school.
  • The New York Times quotes the mother of a student who claims to be LGBTQ outed: "He was bullied in high school and now he found a little safe place in this increasingly hostile state." She prayed that DeSantis not targeting college - "But he did."

How can it succeed within a short time – the New York Times writes of “25 tumultuous days in January” – totally turning a college upside down? 

First, the governor dismissed 6 of the 13 trustees (members of the administrative board of trustees) and replaced them with his allies from the strict conservative camp, including Matthew Spalding, a professor of administrative law Hillsdale. Matthew Lepinski, the previous rector had initially hoped to join the new board of trustees Modus vivendi to find. He was released on January 31.1.2023, XNUMX. 

One of the newly appointed Trustees, Christopher Rufo from Manhattan Institutes in guest post  of Thomas B. Edsall in the New York Times he was called a "conservative ideologue" - describes the future plans for the New College of Florida as follows: “We will close the poorly performing ideologically subverted academic departments and hire new teachers. The student body will change over time: some of the current students will leave voluntarily; others will graduate; then we will accept students who agree with our mission.” (Sources for this section:, 31.1.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "DeSantis Takes On the Education Establishment, and Builds His Brand";, February 14.2.2023, XNUMX: "DeSantis's Latest Target: A Small College of 'Free Thinkers'"; American Historical Association: AHA Statement Opposing Florida House Bill 999 (March 2023);, 8.3.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX; guest post by Thomas B Edsall"The Death Knell for Higher Education in Florida";, 29.4.2023; Michelle goldberg"This Is What the Right-Wing Takeover of a Progressive College Looks Like").

Culture War against Mickey Mouse

Maybe follows Florida Governor to the old saying "Many enemies, much honor". He may also want to prove to his base that he's not shy about working with the largest employer and operator of the most popular facility in the state, the Walt Disney Company and the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando to fight a feud. Maybe he just overreached himself. At Walt Disney in Orlando 75.000 people are employed. A further 13.000 jobs were planned, but have recently been on the brink. The company paid the state $2022 billion in taxes in 1,2. (, 27.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Mickey Mouse vs. Ron DeSantis"). Even your own party friends don't understand why DeSantis of all people who targeted Mickey Mouse. Nikki Haley from south carolina,  the former UN ambassador Trump- she's already announced her 2024 candidacy — probably saying with a wink, "Hey Disney, my home state will be happy to take the 70.000+ jobs if you guys want to leave Florida." Donald Trump described the procedure of DeSantis as an unnecessary political stunt. Reading the reports of the dispute with Disney I wondered if it was in Florida there are no major problems. 

Florida has the Walt Disney Company years ago special tax benefits and for the design and management of the site in Orlando great autonomy – a kind of right of self-government. But that's not what the feud that broke out last year is about. This has ideological reasons and has been pending in court since April 26.4.2023, XNUMX. "Disney DeSantis to the left. or to woke like that today and especially from DeSantis called,” she writes Suddeutsche Zeitung.  "Governor DeSantis wants the amusement park des Disney Group in Florida more control because of this to him Woke is” – meaning: too liberal, the newspaper reports. (, 27.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Mickey Mouse against the Ron De Santis").   

The argument had started relatively harmlessly. Initiated by their employees had the tip of Disney last year that by the Republican majority in Florida passed law that forbids teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. Other American companies are also closely observing social developments in the country and regularly take part in the discussion of socio-cultural issues. The Süddeutsche Zeitung described the reactions of the government of Florida so: Walt Disney was for DeSantis zu woke disney and wanted revenge. The decades-old contract that Disney granting a kind of sovereignty over the park area should be terminated and as DeSantis threatened to collect the tax breaks, the group filed a lawsuit. If the adversaries fail to settle out of court, a high-profile legal battle will ensue, one not primarily about money but about the right to free speech enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Disney feels violated by the threats of the authorities in the exercise of this right. There are also older precedents that could make the governor look bad in court. "Disney expressed his opinion on state legislation and was then punished by the state,” the statement of complaint reads. You never know how a court case will end. But that O'Hare verdict of Supreme Court of 1993 makes clear: “Denial of government benefits is a form of government control, and when it is done with the stated purpose of punishing someone exercising the right to free speech, then the US Constitution is being violated... This is today and it is will – if Disney wins – continue to apply. Should Disney losing however, America's first liberty right is in jeopardy and that Culture War escalating out of control.” (Sources for this section:, 26.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Man vs. Mouse: Ron De Santis Finds Taking On Disney Is a Dicey Business”;, 27.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Mickey Mouse against the Ron De Santis";, 30.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX; David French"Disney v. DeSantis: How Strong Is the Company's Lawsuit?”).

Disney pulls the ripcord 

After the constant teasing from DeSantis and its supporters, the group went one better. Quit on 18.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX Robert A. Iger and Josh D'Amaro announced that Disney will relocate a division of the group decided in 2021 California to Florida do not pursue further. It was planned to be close to $1,3 billion Disney World Resort Orlando to invest and relocate 2.000 jobs. Disney the decision at that time - against the violent protests of the employees - had to do with the business-friendly climate in Florida justified. The Orlando BusinessJournal had described the project as "an important driving force for the region" in January.

The withdrawal of the transfer was made by Disney justified with "changed terms and conditions". Without DeSantis to name, made Robert A. Iger, the top one Disney boss, however in the form of a question, it was clear what ultimately made the difference: “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more staff and pay more taxes or not?” Already in March Disney called the governor "anti-business".  

The New York Times has about the decision of Disney and the possible backgrounds reported in detail. A spokesman for the governor is quoted as saying, Disney I announced the project almost two years ago, but nothing has happened since then. In view of the group's financial problems - declining markets and falling share prices - it is not surprising that economic restructuring is now taking place and the unsuccessful project is being cancelled. Whether this is true or whether it is a question of getting the governor out of the line of fire will be discussed in the NYT report not further elaborated. There is a grain of truth in the reference to economic problems Disney lie, because the new location was originally supposed to be in Florida go into operation as early as next year. But in view of a delay due to the pandemic, the decision to postpone it to 2022 had already been made in July 2026. However, the statement of the spokesman of is wrong DeSantis, “nothing” happened with the project. Disney said it has already raised millions of dollars, including moving approximately 200 workers who have already moved to Florida were relocated. The mayor of Orange County, zu dem Orlando Heard said these are the consequences of not having a climate of cooperation between the states Florida and give to the economy. The Democrat put it much more sharply Anna Eskamani from Orlando, DeSantis is a job-killing git who cares more about his political ambitions and culture wars than about Florida and its future.” (Sources for this section:, 18.5.2023/1/XNUMX: "Disney Pulls Plug on XNUMX Billion Dollar Development in Florida";, 19.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "Then there just isn't a billion dollars from Disney").

Disney may only be a secondary theater of political disputes in Florida be. However, it becomes clear that DeSantis fully focused on the topic of the 2024 presidency in his campaign Culture War will put. From negotiations between Florida and Disney to save the transfer project is not reported in the press that I have seen.   

Illuminated in an essay Anthony Zurcher, the North American correspondent of the with the BBC on their website the background to the conflict of the government of Florida our Disney Group. What is promised Ron DeSantis of being the largest and most respected employer in Florida to take on the horns?  Anthony Zurcher quoted Prof Aubrey Jewett from the University of Central FloridaJewett assumes that the traditional concept that has held Republicans together - the conservative ideas about the free market - is no longer valid today. "There's a significant number of Republicans today who won't sign that." Research into the 2016 election has found that the key dividing line between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton not economic, but socio-cultural. 

builds on that DeSantis and represents Culture War Themes to the fore of his campaign. It therefore seems logical that DeSantis - like that Erin Huntley, the chairman of Republican Executive Committee for Orange County, in which the disney park lies - does not give way. For Huntley it's about the confrontation with Disney about parental rights, upbringing and education, on the one hand DeSantis and on the other side Disney stands. This idea makes it clear that the priority of the issues among the Republicans has shifted: the economic has slipped to the back, socio-cultural issues have come to the fore and have been ideologically fueled.

An Ipsos survey from April this year confirms this change: 64 percent of Republicans believe that DeSantis rightly tried to the special status of Disney World to dismantle Only 35 percent think so DeSantis Disney fined, because it is exercising its right to freedom of expression. However, the general public sees it differently: 82 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans oppose political candidates who support legislation that penalizes companies for their socio-cultural bias. 

In this context, it is interesting to note that Randy Ross, the 2016 in Orange County the campaign for Donald Trump has directed and in the essay of with the BBC described as homosexual. Ross denotes the Disney feud of DeSantis as a crucial mistake that shifts Republicans too far to the right. thereby receive Florida a bible belt image, as the right wishes. "DeSantis has made enemies among independent and moderate Republicans.” The next sentence in BBC essay contains, in my opinion, a scathing criticism for DeSantis: "The lack of willingness to settle the matter behind closed doors shows the poor political judgment of the governor." (, 26.4.2023; Anthony Zurcher: "Ron De Santis thinks his feud with Disney will pay off. Here's why”). 

Donald Trump especially in 2026 - and also later - the science and also the political and administrative elites in Washington dc attacked. DeSantis attacks parts of the economy because they criticize his socio-cultural ideas. In view of this development, it becomes understandable why the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, despite strong warnings from the economy and from the Wall Street is struggling enormously in the dispute over the debt ceiling and gives the impression that it doesn't care at all about a collapse in the US economy. This dispute may confirm the impression that the economy and the Wall Street would have lost weight.

In addition to the personal appearances of the candidates, their statements during the 2024 campaign should be very interesting   

DeSantis wants to run in 2024

On May 24.5.2023, XNUMX, the governor of Florida announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidency. Which is considered to be quite an exceptional event along with Elon Musk you Twitter was planned will be remembered mainly because of the technical difficulties that arose. The New York Times wrote, the long-awaited official entry of DeSantis in the 2024 presidential election campaign got mixed up at the start. (, 24. / 25.5.2023: "In Shaky Start, Ron De Santis Joins 2024 Race, Hoping to Topple Trump").

Immediately after the declaration of DeSantis started a discussion in the media about which of the two – Trump or DeSantis – could have the best chance of becoming the Republican nominee. Opinions are understandably divided.

On May 24.5.2023th, XNUMX the New York Times Two guest posts on this topic:

Rick Lowry, the editor of National Review sees benefits for Ron DeSantis. lowry holds up for a number of reasons despite the sharp drop from DeSantis a possible turnaround in the polls, captioning his post "He's Not Dead Yet." 

The assessment of Frank Bruni in his NYTOpinion piece titled "The DeSantis Delusion“("The DeSantis Deception"). Bruni begins his contribution with the subject of abortion: “Supposedly Ron De Santis more selectable than Donald TrumpBut why did he then for Florida signed a ban on almost all abortions from the sixth week of pregnancy? While this is manna for Christian conservatives who matter in the Republican primary, it will become a burden for moderates and independents who will decide afterwards. This contradicts the statement of DeSantis, he is can Version of Trump, can Biden can actually hit. His attempt turns into a sad little pancake.” 

And Bruni asks a weighty question: “Do Republican voters even want an alternative to Trump? The polls show the opposite.”

I stand by my prediction that Trump will ultimately be the Republican nominee. After assessing the current situation, this is my assessment, but it does not mean that I Trump consider the better candidate. Neither Trump or DeSantis should move into the White House after the 2024 election. 

And I stand by my prediction that Biden will also be the next President of the United States. Because I think the majority of American voters are so thoughtful and so pragmatic that they support the experiment Trump will not repeat. 

Is still  Florida not lost …

Control - if not censorship - of libraries, subjects that shouldn't be taught in school classes, restructuring of higher education, reinterpretation and softening of parts of American history, ideological feuds with corporations... The list could go on. In particular the governor of Florida, but his Republican Party is also wandering around and seems to be trying out which issues can be used to reach the electorate. There is no universally binding agenda. Culture War themes mögen DeSantis and bring his party successes in the primaries. Whether the actual election in November 2024 can be won is at least questionable.  

"Of the Woke Mind Virus is eating away at Republicans' brains," he wrote New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie on 2.5.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX. Quite a few conservatives currently speak in a language and hold ideas that many Americans do not resonate with. Ronna mcdaniel, the chairman of Republican National Committee has called on her party's candidates to tackle the issue of attrition head-on in 2024. Don't be shy and say openly, "I'm proud to stand up for life." DeSantis has in Florida signed a law banning abortion from the 6th week of pregnancy. Trump said: "He signed 6 weeks and a lot of people from the pro-life movement think this is too hard.”

Jamelle Bouie quoted DeSantis' statements about the  woke Mind Virus, which is a form of cultural Marxism. Whatever this may mean concretely: Cultural Marxism in America? Bowie notes: “The Republican Party has become strange. Not only is Republican politics going outside of the mainstream, the party itself has become very strange.” Jerry Fallwell Jr., the former president of the evangelical organization Liberty and tight Trump supporter makes fun of the religious zealot Ron De Santis:"I don't mind at all DeSantis, but I don't think he's fit for prime time yet," adding disparagingly that the governor looks like a little boy.

With Culture War alone likes DeSantis eventually become the Republican nominee for 2024—if he's tactically and rhetorically adept enough to Donald Trump beat in the Republican primary, but it's unlikely he'll be able to win swing voters. A small note under "Gossip on the colorful side of the Heilbronn voice shows how far the Culture Warrior in the USA removed from the reality of their country. The Cologne-born transgender singer Kim Petras (30) joined the singer in February Sam Smith Grammy in the category pop duo won. In the Los Angeles living German is the first transgender artist to win in this category. With bans and discrimination they want Culture Warrior can L .GBTQ community pushed to the fringes of society, but the counter-movement is running. DeSantis has the little one within a few weeks New College of Florida can turn inside out. But with the overturning of the entire system of higher education in Florida it won't be ready by the 2024 election. 

To stand a chance in the 2024 election, must DeSantis stay in the headlines through the end of the primaries and beyond. I dare not predict that DeSantis but Donald Trump will run for the Republican nomination. Then the duel is repeated Biden ./. Trump. In the last election, the race was completely open. As things stand today, the ailing Donald Trump beatable again. Joe Biden still has worse poll numbers, but he has a lot to show for domestic and foreign policy. In terms of foreign policy, he reunited the Western world and made the United States the undisputed leading power in the West. The duel Trump ./. DeSantis the Republican nomination is likely to get ugly and DeSantis should not leave it a glorious winner. Trump is the more experienced showman and he will simply ridicule DeSantis. (Sources for this section:, 14.4.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX: "DeSantis Attempts to Woo Young Evangelicals";, April 25.4.2023, XNUMX: "Analyses: Biden Faces Headwinds, but Democrats See Reasons for Optimism";, 2.5.2023; Jamelle Bouie: "The 'Woke Mind Virus' Is Eating Away at Republicans' Brains"; Heilbronn voice, May 17.5.2023, XNUMX: “Gossip – Kim petras).

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