Culture War, Corporate Dominance, and the Authoritarian Movement
The clash between Right Wing reactionaries and Disney showcases where power lies and what the future might look like
Outside the gates of Disney World, protesters have squared off in opposition. One group is calling on the Walt Disney Company to fight the so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill” pushed by Florida Republicans and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in late March. Others carries signs dotted with QAnon slogans and paranoid accusations. This strange scene is indicative of a strange moment in time and, disturbingly enough, represents a preview of what might very well lay in our future.
For opponents of the GOP’s agenda, the appeal is based in the power of consumerism. Disney is a corporate giant in Florida and accounts for a massive share of the state’s tourism. Supporters seek to demonize Disney as an entertainment monolith, hoping to pressure its executives and tastemakers to shift progressive trends in its content in order to virtually erase any sign of gay or trans people or literally any group that doesn’t fall within the confines of a strict, white, patriarchal orthodoxy.
Decades have been spent in the United States prosecuting cultural wars. The battlefields are depressingly familiar and work in cycles, whether it’s destroying rock n roll records in the 1950’s, decrying long hair on men, the sexual liberation of women, and the very existence of gay people in the Sixties, or zeroing in on hip-hop near the end of the 20th century. They share a common thread, which is the need for white, evangelical patriarchs to maintain consistent and unfettered control over culture lest their power wanes.
This new iteration of this ongoing battle represents the culmination of those fights into a new and twisted political era where normal citizens have little to no control over their destinies, corporations enjoy dominance so overarching that it literally exceeds nation states and their political bodies, and in which that separation of power and planned inequality leave millions drowning in conspiracy theories both created and weaponized by the wealthiest individuals and organizations as they fight amongst one another for more and more power.
The disturbing truth is that we, as a people, have been changed, and the very notion of what a society should be and how it should function has changed as well. Despite all appearances, this can get worse - much, much worse - unless we take stock of where we are and what we have become and choose, as we must, to create a new and better world.