Could this be the final straw that converts millions of conservatives from Don to Ron?

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida created a scare among the mainstream media and liberals in December 2021, when he proposed re-establishing the Florida State Guard. He raised the topic while speaking about his military budget proposal. 

Not to be confused with Florida National Guard, a federal military force, the Florida Guard is entirely under the control of the State of Florida. It was created initially in 1941 to fill in for National Guard members deployed during World War II. It was disbanded in 1947 once the National Guard members had returned to the states. However, the unit is still part of Florida law as the Florida State Defense Force, so although it did disband, it doesn’t have to be re-created, just reactivated.

Ron DeSantis in 2017 Photo credit: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 license

DeSantis’s proposal would see 200 volunteer civilians “trained in the best emergency response techniques.” According to a press release, the unit would aid the National Guard in the event of natural disasters or other state emergencies. DeSantis said in the press release that a state guard unit would give him “the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.”

While a state guard is nothing new for Florida, it hasn’t been around for 74 years. However, 23 other states have similar units, giving DeSantis plenty of examples to study and incorporate the elements that work into the Florida Guard.

It seems to be the fact that DeSantis proposed this that has media and politicians upset. While perturbed politicos are nothing new, they don’t seem concerned that the blue states of New York and California have state guard units. The primary reason the left seems upset is that the newly reactivated military would not be under the control of Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. Nowadays, top brass in the Pentagon seems more concerned about making the military woke than fighting-ready. 

Florida Democrats, not surprisingly, attributed dark motives to the governor’s proposal that they don’t see with the state guards in blue states under the control of Democrat governors in those states. 

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, who will challenge DeSantis in next year’s governor’s election, tweeted, “No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police.” Presumably, he was not referring to the governor of California

Another gubernatorial challenger, State Sen. Annette Taddeo, called DeSantis in a tweet a “wannabe dictator trying to make his move for his own vigilante militia like we’ve seen in Cuba.”

CNN tried to put a negative spin on the announcement in their headline, writing, “DeSantis proposes a new civilian-military force in Florida that he would control” while failing to point out why this isn’t a problem in the 23 other states where it exists.

The Florida Guard can prove very useful in Florida, particularly during natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados, as we’ve recently seen in Kentucky. They could also help should urban rioting like we have seen in other cities across the country happen. For example, a State Guard unit would have been helpful when rioting broke out in some Florida cities in 2020 after the death of George Floyd.

While the details still need to be worked out, the unit likely will be designated as a Special Operations Rapid Emergency Response Battalion. Its members should primarily come from law enforcement, firefighting, medical, and search and rescue, for cross-training in other skills. 

Proper training and adequate funding are a must and a wise fiscal investment.  DeSantis asks for $3.5 million from the state legislature to re-establish the unit from a $100 million budget.

While this proposal will likely help Ron DeSantis against his Democrat gubernatorial challengers next year, it could also help DeSantis in a U.S. Presidential run, should he choose that path. 

Regardless of whether we ever see a President DeSantis, reactivating the Florida State Guard is an appropriate action taken by the chief executive officer to serve and protect the people of the Sunshine State who selected Ron DeSantis to be their governor. 

Michael A. Letts is the CEO and Founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.  

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