Our Gov is hiding in the Mansion trying to figure out how to talk to people of color who appear to be upset

The Florida Governor's Mansion. Credit: The Official Site of the People's House of Florida; FL Dept. of Management Services

The American Empire is disintegrating before our very eyes, but what the hell?

This is Florida: The beaches are open, baby!

Still, a little guidance, some stirring words from the white folks in charge, wouldn’t go amiss.

The state’s racking up between 600 and 1,400 new COVID-19 cases every day, totally messing up football practice and block parties.

Florida’s jobless claims now top 1.8 million, second only to California, but people who applied more than two months ago still aren’t getting their unemployment checks: the CONNECT software that runs the system has achieved consciousness and now identifies as a Koch Brothers conservative, loath to give socialist handouts to the undeserving poor who will only go squander the money on food, rent, and medical bills.

Nature’s being difficult, too. An army of blue land crabs has invaded a Miami suburb, prancing around like they own the place, and dog-killing toxic frogs have cropped up all over South Florida to have sex — preferably with each other.

It’ll be gnats, flies and boils next.

And to top it all off, citizens from Pensacola to Key West are in the streets demanding that the cops stop killing black people — which is reasonable, except when black people are scary or talk back.

So where are Florida’s Republican leaders? Isn’t it their job to show up when things are going to hell in Ivanka’s $1,500 Max Mara handbag?

You couldn’t miss Gov. Ron DeSantis during the old days (about three weeks ago) when our biggest problem was buying toilet paper. He was on TV and the radio all the time. Lately the man has been all but invisible.

OK, he’s really just hiding in the Mansion (it’s a big house), trying to figure out how to actually talk to those people of color who appear to be a little upset.

Y’all mad, Bro?

To be fair, the governor did emerge long enough to whisper that although George Floyd’s murder by cop was “appalling” and yeah, black lives do matter (more or less), that’s no excuse for “rioting and looting.”

He’s decreed that Florida’s bars can now re-open, too, which is a relief: Given what’s happening around in this country, we need to heed the advice Bluto gave his Delta brother Flounder: “Start drinking heavily.”

Which brings me to Sen. Rick Scott, that noted champion of wokeness.

While we await his speech on equal justice under the law (surely forthcoming on the Senate floor, where they practice both social and moral distance), we should note that he admonished Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for refusing to send his National Guard to D.C. to beat up preachers and college kids, tweeting: “This isn’t a time for politics.”

Too right! There’s nothing at all political about Rick Scott demanding the Senate subpoena Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Beau Biden (deceased), Jill Biden (claims she’s a doctor), and Major Biden (I’m guessing the military title is a fraud since he spent his formative weeks in a kennel at the Delaware Humane Association) to get to the bottom of the corrupt, sinister and not entirely Causasian Obama cartel.

And also log some sweet video for those campaign ads in 2024.

Then there’s Florida’s senior senator, Marcocito Rubio, who’s probably at lunch. In the meantime, he hunkers down tweeting quotations from the prophets Jeremiah and Malachi, and popping up on Capitol Hill to assure reporters it was fine for Bill Barr to have the sturmtrupplers tear gas the rabble so Trump could get his photo op in front of a church he doesn’t attend, brandishing a Bible he’s never read.

After all, Rubio sniffed, it wasn’t even a protest, it was “a provocation that was created deliberately for national television” by “professional agitators.”

That’s a big hell, yeah. Some of those agents provocateurs were dressed as grannies, teenagers, and Episcopal priests and cried really convincingly when the cops brought clubs down on their heads.

In a refreshing contrast, 30A’s own Matt Gaetz, R-McTighe’s Pub, is everywhere, lurching in front of any available camera, holding forth on Twitter: “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?”

Alas, Twitter, an outfit run by humorless hairy-legged feminazis, gun haters, metrosexuals, and Yankees, tagged Rep. Gaetz’s tweet as promoting violence. Wusses.

How dare they censor Florida’s brightest rising GOP star?

Anyway, what’s the downside of letting heavily armed guys with a vexed understanding of masculinity go around shooting anyone who disapproves of fascism?

No doubt Matt Gaetz is proud of state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Lake County’s own anti-Antifa warrior, protector of Florida’s proud Confederate history, and fearless blackface-wearer who merely tweeted a picture of his AR-15 at  “potential ‘protestors’ coming near Lake County.”

Some people “reported” him for threatening violence (silly: That gun’s covered in attractive William Morris wallpaper, so how could anyone be scared of it?) and totally took his friendly advice the wrong way.

Florida politicians are, no doubt, doing their best to take care of us.

Just like law enforcement, who are, yes, murdering black people on the street, on the job, in the park, and in their beds, but working hard to protect us — as long as we’re white.

And we don’t take the Constitution seriously.

As Sen. Rick Scott, displaying his grasp of democracy, told a cable news outlet: “People have the right to protest. But you cannot do it against the police.”

Diane Roberts
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.