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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisJoe Raedle / Staff / Getty

July 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis drew a clear line in the sand Wednesday against future COVID-19 lockdowns, declaring the Sunshine State would never “​​live in a Faucian dystopia.”

“I think it’s very important that we say unequivocally no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions and no to mandates,” DeSantis said during his address to the 48th annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“Floridians are free to choose — and all Americans should be free to choose — how they govern their affairs, how they take care of themselves and our families, and they should not be consigned to live — regardless of which state in the union — consigned to live in a Faucian dystopia in which we’re governed by the whims of bureaucratic authorities who care little for our freedom, little for our aspirations and little for our happiness,” he continued. “No more. We can’t let it happen going forward.”

Two days later, DeSantis followed up by announcing an executive order that would ban Florida public schools from requiring children to wear masks and clarifying that power over such decisions is reserved for parents.

DeSantis has garnered high marks from conservatives over the past year for his handling of COVID-19, which was defined by resisting the lockdowns of other states and focusing on the protection of Florida’s elderly population, leading even the left-wing Associated Press to eventually admit that California’s far more restrictive policies didn’t save more lives than Florida’s targeted approach, and Democrats to try to explain away the state’s COVID statistics by falsely accusing the DeSantis administration of manipulating the numbers.

Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has defended the rights and choices of Floridians from lockdown advocates, including standing against school closings, vaccine passports, mask mandates, and local lockdowns; pardoning Floridians who have violated local restrictions, suing the Biden administration over its ban on the cruise ship industry, and quickly embracing hydroxychloroquine.

That, combined with his proactive conservative record as governor, has made DeSantis a top contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination in the minds of many conservatives. 

That record includes legislation and executive actions to strengthen election security, pioneer legal remedies to internet censorship, ban sanctuary cities, require parental consent for minors’ abortions, keep males who claim to be female out of women’s athletic programs, toughen penalties for riot-related offenses, crack down on foreign influence in higher education, require schools to provide silent time students can use for daily prayer if they so choose, strengthen transparency and parental consent for sex education; keep left-wing indoctrination such as critical race theory out of public schools and replace it with pro-American civics lessons; and join one of multiple amicus briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 pro-abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.

Recently, some conservatives skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccines have faulted DeSantis for recent comments promoting the vaccines as “saving lives,” though he remains opposed to mandating the vaccines, and also placed the blame for vaccine hesitancy squarely with vaccine advocates who have tried to shame or pressure Americans into taking them, as well as health officials who have sent mixed signals such as urging the vaccinated to resume masking.

Such confusion persists nationally, as the Biden White House rolls out a vaccination requirement for federal workers even as it refuses to disclose how many of its own staffers have contracted COVID-19 after vaccinating.