- - Sunday, August 7, 2022

This past week, on July 28, Florida proved once again to be a bastion of sanity in the midst of a country that, by and large, has lost its mind. Confronted by President Biden’s gender-bending abuse of Title IX; a law written to protect women that is now being used to justify giving female sports to misogynistic men who get their kicks out of blackfacing women and playing dress-up, Florida officials simply said, “No! We will not comply.”

In the face of the president’s executive action demanding that all schools and colleges immediately start making girls’ showers, locker rooms, dormitories and athletics available to members of the opposite sex, Florida’s Education Commissioner Manny Diaz responded by telling the White House that its directive would “not be treated as governing law.” The Biden administration’s agenda, he said, “jeopardize[d] the safety and wellbeing of Florida students and risk[ed] violating Florida law,” a law otherwise known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis this past June. 

If this story proves anything, it demonstrates that leadership matters and that bold, decisive men inspire others to act likewise. Mr. DeSantis has repeatedly proven that he is a man of courage and conviction. His response to COVID-19 encouraged millions to stop living in fear. His clamp-down on illegal immigration reminded a nation that a nation without borders is no nation at all. His defense of children and their innocence emboldened scores of parents to shout, “This must stop! We will no longer tolerate the sexual grooming of our sons and daughters.” And Mr. DeSantis’ strong stance in confronting the science-denying nonsense of pretending that women aren’t real has led other governors, 15 to be exact, to join him in doing the same. 

It’s said that the proof of leadership is that others follow and that if you look over your shoulder and find yourself alone, then you might not be a leader. 

Mr. DeSantis is a leader. 

His attorney general is following. His education commissioner is following. His legislature is following. Parents are following, as are his peers. 

People are lining up behind him due to the governor’s clarity and courage. Mr. DeSantis knows what he believes and why. He understands himself, and he understands his time. The battle lines are clear, the banner is raised high, and the army stands ready for battle. Good generals inspire, they don’t confuse, and Mr. DeSantis is a good general.  

During the 2016 election season, I was invited to join a small group of about 30 conservative Catholic and evangelical writers and speakers to meet with former President Donald Trump in New York City. He had just won the primary and was, therefore, the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States. While with him, I introduced myself by saying, “Mr. Trump, My name is Everett Piper. I’m the president of a small Christian college in northeast Oklahoma. I’ve just received a letter from the Obama administration demanding that I immediately start providing transgender accommodations on my campus. Mr. Trump, I will not do this. I will not permit men to intrude into our female facilities or programs. So, Mr. Trump, should you become president of the United States, I have one request of you; please leave me alone! Please just get the government out of our business. Let us be the Christian school we are chartered to be. Just leave us alone!”

While I’m not sure Mr. Trump fully understood my concerns (in fact, his response, which I will not betray in this article, indicated that he did not), I’m grateful that he, as president, did precisely what I asked him to do. He left me alone, and as a result, I enjoyed more religious freedom than I could have ever hoped for had his opponent prevailed rather than him. 

But here’s the thing: Mr. DeSantis would not only leave me alone, but he would lead. Mr. DeSantis has proven that he understands the moral insanity of our time and will fight on our behalf against it! 

Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. … If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 

Mr. DeSantis clearly knows his enemy and knows himself. This man is a leader millions of Americans would be excited to follow.   

• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host.

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