I must admit I saw it coming. In recent weeks, I’ve seen on YouTube channels I subscribe to that do City walks and drives a proliferation of videos from Florida – including on some channels, largely focused on large European and American cities that had never aired a video from Florida before. Suddenly around the middle of February videos from Clearwater Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona were popping up on my feeds. Since then we’ve seen more and more images and videos from Florida, and this past week those images turned horrifying.
For weeks before these images began filtering onto our screens, conservatives were touting the Florida DeSantis “free state” model as way of handling Covid. Adoring headlines have began fawning over the Governor in national publications for his handling of the pandemic. Few if any of these publications have noted that Florida’s death rate per capita per citizen is actually HIGHER from COVID-19 than California’s as of this past Friday.
A simple question has to be asked – are the people who are so openly and blatantly misbehaving in Florida currently, prone to do the same sort of thing back home? Do they flaunt societies norms and risk the public health of others in the middle of a pandemic? My guess is probably not – these people have shown a reckless and flagrant disregard for the citizens of this state, people who actually live here. They have been tacitly told they can come here, party hard, and face no consequences. It’s not something they imagined, it’s obviously been communicated to them however subtly from those with decision making authority.
So this comes back to why exactly are they here? Let’s review why:
- For Ideological reasons to promote his national profile Governor Ron DeSantis has promoted an “open state” model. As noted above Florida has a HIGHER death rate from COVID than California, the state conservatives love to mock. This “open state” model had its own economic drawbacks as foreign tourism to Florida plunged to unprecedented depths this winter and to offset that drop DeSantis had to encourage more domestic tourism than usual including the wild partying and scenes of mayhem we have witnessed.
- The Governor has consistently misled the public, shunned the strong public disclosure and accountability laws Florida elected officials need to abide by and has chosen to risk the health of his own citizens to cook the economy and push his own national profile.
- We have local elected officials that were slow to react to this invasion of people – in some places local officials actually encouraged it and now are forced with dealing with the consequences.
At some point Floridians, the people who actually live and care about this state need to ask our elected leaders a simple question – Our our lives as important to you as politics and the antics of outsiders? If they aren’t, my suggestion is they move and go run for office in another state.