Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.
FL’s COVID craziness keeps getting deeper — how dare the government try to save lives?
By: Diane Roberts - September 17, 2021
“Human kind,” said the poet, “cannot bear too much reality.” Many Republicans seem especially resistant, preferring to dwell in a miasma of Deep State conspiracies and Internet nonsense inspiring them to believe that Hillary Clinton drinks babies’ blood, Trump won the 2020 election, and that ingesting over-the-feed-store-counter tablets for deworming horses is a better way […]
Abortion foes play a dangerous game in encouraging vigilantes to snoop on neighbors
By: Diane Roberts - September 7, 2021
Americans like to say we don’t leave Americans behind. We don’t abandon people to be oppressed and victimized by a bunch of gun-toting yahoo zealots who hate freedom and hate science and think they have a direct line to God. So, when do we start evacuating women and girls from Texas? Women and girls in […]
Hey, GOP: There’s a museum up in Montgomery y’all really ought to see
By: Diane Roberts - August 23, 2021
MONTGOMERY — You walk out of the fierce summer sun into a shadowy forest of rectangular steel columns, row upon row of them, six or seven feet tall, covered in rust the color of dried blood. It takes a minute to adjust to the dim light. Then you begin to see the names inscribed on […]
Some GOP governors are finally getting a clue on COVID, but not ours
By: Diane Roberts - August 6, 2021
Gold! Florida stands on the top tier of the coronavirus podium: 12,888 in the hospital as of Thursday. We’ve broken our own July 2020 record. Florida now leads the nation in per capita hospitalizations. We’re Number One! Sure, Louisiana beats us in the sheer rate of COVID-19 infections in recent days, but on Thursday, we […]
Experts? We don’t need no experts!
By: Diane Roberts - July 23, 2021
Thank God our governor doesn’t listen to these quote-unquote experts trying to impose their over-educated, evidence-based, warped world view on decent, horoscope-reading, lucky socks-wearing, lottery ticket-buying, chicken entrails-reading Floridians. We’re not dumb, you know. Take the so-called global pandemic. The quote-unquote data show that Florida’s COVID-19 numbers are up 200 percent over the last two […]
To conservatives, history is bunk. ‘All that’s in the past: Why bring it up’?
By: Diane Roberts - July 12, 2021
Ron DeSantis hates our freedoms — and rightfully so. Why should Florida allow eggheads like me to go around teaching impressionable students about, say, the Rosewood Massacre in 1923, when dozens of Black people were tortured and murdered by a white mob in Levy County while law enforcement turned a blind eye. Or maybe that […]
Across Anglo-America, anti-woke crusaders can’t handle history’s complexity
By: Diane Roberts - June 28, 2021
LONDON — People love to tour the stately homes of England, imagining themselves taking tea in the library at Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey) or sporting a tiara at a Bridgerton-style ball in some Palladian mansion, just as they like to relish the gracious plantation houses of the South: Oak Alley in Louisiana, Brandon […]
Some countries are better than others at confronting their dark histories
By: Diane Roberts - June 8, 2021
LONDON — The United States is not alone in struggling with the endemic racism of its past — and present. The United Kingdom is also trying to reckon with the way much of its empire was built on slavery. Britain has its own Black Lives Matter movement and, even during the coronavirus pandemic, this diverse […]
Regarding critical race theory: Can we talk about American history like grown ups?
By: Diane Roberts - May 28, 2021
Florida State University’s new president will be Richard McCullough of Harvard. Probably. The state Board of Governors must still ratify his selection when they meet in late June, and while it’s unlikely they’ll put forth another candidate, it’s not impossible. They are political animals, and higher education in Florida — as in other red states […]
Richard Corcoran is not FSU president material, in part because he’s an enemy of public education
By: Diane Roberts - May 19, 2021
Florida State University’s Presidential Search Committee has refused to put Florida’s irascible Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on its short list. He should never have been on any list. He’s not FSU president material. FSU is a public institution. Corcoran’s an enemy of public education, an ardent supporter of school vouchers. He graduated from a private […]
DeSantis and his confederates in FL’s GOP Legislature: They don’t care about bettering the state
By: Diane Roberts - May 7, 2021
Every year, I think the Florida Legislature can’t get any worse. Every year, I’m wrong. Let’s start with the hypocrisy. Republicans used to embrace local government, piously insisting that government closest to the people is best, and that “Tallahassee” doesn’t know what St. Pete, Palatka, or Palm Beach need. But now that city and county […]
Notes on the rise and fall of the Anglo-Saxon Caucus and its Florida fellow travelers
By: Diane Roberts - April 26, 2021
“America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” — America First Caucus You may have heard that some of the most MAGA-ty of the congressional MAGA types — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Duelling Banjos; Paul Gosar, R-Trump Tower; plus our own Matt Gaetz, […]