By FRED GRIMM*
PUBLISHED: July 14, 2023
My Note: Some may believe that all of Florida is in lock step with Trump's MEGA agenda and Desantis' draconian measures. Many, in spite of the searing heat are still lucid. Exposed in this Sun Sentinel op-ed is the results of what authoritarian brings and the impact it is having on Florida.
|South Florida Sun Sentinel
columnist Fred Grimm
. (Rolando Otero, South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Imagine the cognitive dissonance in mocking climate change as so much liberal hype even as the heat index in South Florida exceeds 100 degrees for the 33rd straight day. And counting.
Imagine hewing to the official state pretense that Florida’s property insurance crisis isn’t a crisis in the same week that Farmers Insurance Group notified the state that it was skedaddling.
Imagine acting as if the spate of racist, homophobic, sexist laws spat out by the Florida Legislature embodies sound policy rather than the cynical contrivances of the governor’s presidential campaign. Never mind that Florida cities are losing convention business due to the state’s “unfriendly political environment.”d is the truthy of is happening in Florida under authoritarian rules.
Imaging trying to convince farmers and builders that Florida’s draconian anti-immigrant legislation hasn’t chased away much needed workers, even as farmers and builders insist otherwise.
Imagine ignoring the damage caused by agricultural runoff, leaky septic tanks and other pollutants in a week when 440-square miles of toxic green algae was smothering Lake Okeechobee.
Mendacity has always been an integral element in MAGA’s brave new world, but imagine the enormous self-deception required to ignore a life-threatening heat dome stalled over Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and a sizeable chunk of Arizona.
Climate denial just doesn’t resonate after the hottest day in the hottest week in the hottest June in recorded history. Along with floods, wildfires, superstorms, droughts, mudslides, melting glaciers, dying coral reefs and other disasters ignited by global warming.
Even wild-eyed zealots must reach a breakpoint where reality undercuts MAGA ideology. Apparently, in Florida, that juncture remains elusive. Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis demonstrated his contempt for climate change mitigation by vetoing a budget item that would have qualified Florida for a $346 million federal grant to improve energy efficiency. [turn down money that would have benefited Floridians] DeSantis told Fox News that he “rejects the politicization of the weather.”
Florida Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Patronis, who oversees the Office of Insurance Regulation, suffers his own MAGA delusions. After Farmers Insurance Group announced that the company would neither write new insurance policies in Florida nor renew 100,000 existing policies, Patronis accused the company of going woke — the DeSantis regime’s ultimate revilement.
“The more we learn about Farmers Insurance the more it’s clear its leadership doesn’t know what they’re doing. While they’re bad at helping people, they’re good at virtue signaling,” Patronis claimed Tuesday.
Patronis didn’t say whether three other major insurers who’ve abandoned Florida, or the 15 companies that have stopped writing new policies, or the seven firms that have gone bankrupt covering disaster losses were similarly undone by liberal wokeness. He accused Farmers of “playing politics” and said the company was “well on its way to becoming the Bud Light of insurance,” referencing the MAGA hate frenzy ignited last month by the appearance of a transgender woman in a Bud Light ad.
Despite Florida’s mighty war on woke, property insurance has risen from an average annual premium of $1,544 to $4,231 under the DeSantis administration. Depending on one’s political perspective, Florida insurers have either fobbed off the cost of inclusion, equity and diversity on their customers or else hurricanes have rendered vulnerable areas of Florida nearly uninsurable.
State laws targeting abortion, Black history, LGBTQ rights, immigrants, college professors, teachers, librarians, unions and drag queens have been blamed for the loss of at least six conventions in Fort Lauderdale, one in Miami and five in Orlando. Con of Thrones, a gathering of “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts, canceled its Orlando convention, due to “the increasingly anti-humanitarian legislation and atmosphere in Florida.”
But Florida’s tourism losses haven’t yet reached the critical point where state officials admit that their mindless culture wars are savaging the state’s brand.
The nation’s harshest immigration laws have left the state’s agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors desperate for workers, but apparently the desperation hasn’t reached the point where Republican politicians are forced to admit another mistake.
Residents downstream from Lake Okeechobee along the Caloosahatchee River, the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon worry that huge gobs of green algae will soon be floating their way. But state officials still haven’t gone after the polluters who created this stinking mess. Not yet.
Nor has Florida’s firearm mayhem — more than a thousand gun homicides a year — reached the crucial juncture when MAGA pols no longer deny the relationship between permissive gun laws and all those bullet-riddled bodies.
When it comes to firearm killings, escalating insurance costs, climate disasters, immigrant labor, polluted waterways, legislative bigotry, the solutions are obvious. Sadly, we’re just not there yet.
Florida hasn’t reached that crucial breakpoint where truth matters more than ideology.
*Fred Grimm, a longtime resident of Fort Lauderdale, has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1976. Reach him by email at leogrimm @ gmail.com or on Twitter: @grimm_fred.