Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited Philadelphia to receive the Union League’s annual Gold Medal Award, and all hell broke loose.
Alarm bells sounded, and members of (the Christian Left) clergy joined Democrat politicians, racial and gender justice activists to protest the League’s decision to give DeSantis its highest honor. Gathered on Broad Street in front of the Union League, the protesters held signs that read, “What Would Abe Say?”
Abe, of course, refers to Abraham Lincoln who received the League’s first Gold Medal Award after its founding in 1862. Also called the Union League Medal of Honor, the award was created “to be conferred on men who were regarded as deserving well of their country.”
The Union League’s reputation for being a largely conservative Republican bastion was common until liberal members began joining the club.
The liberal (woke) contingent in the League has grown over the years. It is comprised mostly of women and social justice-orientated (BLM-sympathetic) African Americans. In a city so blue that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the ground from the sky, it was inevitable that the Union League would give way to so much liberal (membership) money.
Nearly 100 (liberal) members threatened to leave the League if the club did not rescind the DeSantis award. The League, to its credit, did not budge. It was not about to become an ideological arm of City Council.
It sent out a resounding “No” to the iconoclasts of leftism who want to refashion the League in its own image.
One must ask: was the invasion of woke members into the League a planned takeover?
In Philadelphia, the Union League is conservative on many levels. Consider the dress code, for instance.
While nearly every other institution and club in the city has abandoned the idea of a dress code, the League retains its strict rule that men must wear jackets and dress trousers (ties optional). This dress code over time has been perceived by some (especially “grassroots democracy” Libs who love wearing sneakers with dress pants or $100 blue jeans) as an unnecessary relic from bygone times.
When DeSantis arrived in Philadelphia, it was reported that he grabbed a cheese steak, then headed to one of the oldest private women’s clubs in the city, the Acorn Club, founded in 1889, where he spoke to members on economic issues. From there he headed to the Union League and into the recording lens of protesters and television cameras.
Among the Broad Street protesters one spotted the usual suspects: men with trim Leninist beards holding placards picturing Nazis while others waved ideological flags of various denominations. A contingent of grunge social justice activists — in hibernation since the George Floyd riots of 2020—seemed happy that they finally had something to sink their teeth into: Ron DeSantis, who might be worse than, you know, Donald Trump.
NBC10 reported that “SkyForce10 was over the scene as DeSantis arrived and entered the Union League of Philadelphia on 140 South Broad Street early Tuesday evening. Philadelphia police moved barricades around the building’s entrance at Sansom Street. Protesters gathered at the entrance and Sansom Street was blocked at Broad Street.”
On the street was the Reverend Robert Collier of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia. He stood near an anti-DeSantis protester holding a rainbow flag. “We will not allow anybody, whether they’re from Florida, or wherever, to come to Philadelphia and disrespect us,” Collier told reporters.
(History tells us it was the Black Clergy of Philadelphia who were among the most vociferous voices in opposition to the city’s Gay Rights Bills in the 1970s, when some of their members yelled in City Council chambers that homosexuals should not be protected from job discrimination because they had “rotten teeth.”)
Collier was joined by City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, who stated, “We want you to cancel this award and more importantly we’re putting The Union League on notice.”
It’s anybody’s guess what Johnson meant by that.
“There is a level of arrogance that’s happening inside this building that’s got to be addressed,” The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted street protester and state Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Democrat, as saying.
Meanwhile, inside the League, DeSantis was all smiles and announced that he was honored to receive the Gold Medal from the Union League of Philadelphia.
“The League was founded in 1862 to preserve and advance freedom. In Florida, we are guided by the same enduring American principles that the League has strived to preserve,” he said.
In the past, DeSantis has described Florida as “a promised land of sanity” compared with other states that have “embraced faddish ideology at the expense of enduring principles.”
The City of Philadelphia is a cornucopia of “faddish ideology.” City Council, in a rush to burn DeSantis at the stake, issued a resolution condemning the award, which was to be expected in a city where the “woke thing” is embedded in every soft pretzel and nearly every cheese steak.
It’s certainly embedded in the city’s cultural communities, where museum-opening exhibitions and lectures, even announcements from the stage at play openings, are almost always preceded with Land Acknowledgment lectures, comments about equity, equality, and diversity, and in some cases, preferred pronouns.
This leftist mantra is the same no matter where you go. It’s as if the entire city had swallowed the same social activist pill that turns everyone into identical-thinking robots. (One is reminded of the activist hippies in the 1960s who carried around the sayings of Chairman Mao.)
The most radical candidate for mayor, former Councilmember Helen Gym, tweeted about DeSanti’s visit: “Philly will always stand against the racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and the bigotry that the Union League decided to honor today. Hate has no home here. #ByeDeSantis.”
It’s all woke blather, of course. Empty political clichés that the left loves to throw around. Meanwhile, the hatred shown for DeSantis in many of the city’s political circles, including Philadelphia City Council, was so thick it conjured up the smell of sulphur.
Homophobia, racism, and xenophobia—really?
Florida’s mislabeled “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibits classroom discussion about gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through the third grade, the idea being that discussions concerning sexuality, gay or straight, should be handled only by parents or families.
The idea that toddlers should be subject to state-sponsored pogroms that tap into made-up gender philosophies that have nothing to do with reality is an idea worth trashing.
And yes, DeSantis deserves another Gold Medal Award for his rejection of the Marxist-basis of Critical Race Theory that divides the world into two groups: the oppressed and the oppressor.
The Goldwater Institute is correct when it states that Critical Race Theory places an emphasis on grouping individuals into categories and then calling for additional rights and benefits to be given to minority ethnic groups.
Additionally, the charge that DeSantis is anti-immigrant is another false flag, although the left would have you believe that to object to busloads of illegal migrants being shipped to American cities—cities not designated as sanctuary cities– is somehow racist and anti-American.
It is the left that has worked hard to erase the distinction between legal and illegal immigration: in 2022 alone, 502,602 migrants from South America were released into multiple American cities already saddled with problems of drug addiction and homelessness.
The Union League of Philadelphia is to be commended for not buckling under to the armies of woke culture.
At the same time, freedom-loving Philadelphians and Americans everywhere need to be wary now of “cancel culture” forces in the city that may, over time, seek to harm the Union League in nefarious, not-so-secret ways.