Joe Henderson: Gov. Ron DeSantis plan for Florida might work, so why the swipes?
Ron DeSantis is re-embracing his Donald Trumpian style. Image via AP.

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Maybe it's because of this. Gov. DeSantis' plan to put people back to work seems reasonable. Most of us are smart enough to figure out if he is doing it correctly. He doesn't need to make it political. Just lead, OK?

Gov. Ron DeSantis has a plan to re-open the state for business. Wonderful. We look forward to seeing how that works. We’re rooting for you.

However, was it really necessary to take swipes at those “gloom and doom” (your words) media mongrels who had the audacity to call out your initial fumbling, bumbling response to COVID-19’s devastating impact on Florida’s economy?

We thought you might be different. Turns out, you’re just another parrot for the GOP talking points that questions how ANYONE would have the audacity to question you. Darn it, Governor, more than 1,200 people have died in Florida from a virus that more than one member of your Republican Party dismissed as a hoax.

Stop it.

That said, the plan you unveiled Wednesday isn’t bad.

You called it safe, smart, and step by step.

Absolutely logical.

Compared to Georgia, you look like Gandhi.

In your initial phase, retail stores and restaurants can reopen at 25 percent capacity. Eateries will be allowed to seat people outside. Social distancing will be enforced. Good.

Schools, bars, gyms, hair salons, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities remain closed. And as much as I’d like an hour or two at my gym, I’m good with that. I’m just glad my father-in-law, who died last year at age 94, isn’t alive to question why his daughter and son-in-law aren’t coming to visit his assisted living facility.

These are smart moves.

No one ever said you aren’t smart.

But if your aspiration is to sit in Florida’s highest governance chair, well, guess what? You’re gonna get questions. Not everyone will believe you are right. Deal with it.

People will want to know why you waited so long to react when it was obvious the virus was a monster. And you did wait.

You complained that projections for Florida infections were wildly inflated. You would have preferred to follow the lead of President Donald Trump, who tried to paint a happy face on a pandemic.

Get real.

OK, we’re not rooting for your reopening plan to fail. That means everyone fails, and that is not an option.

People need to work.

They need to eat.

Everyone needs to feel safe, and they are looking for leaders to show them how.

Gov. DeSantis, that means they’re looking to you.

Go ahead, reopen Florida in stages. Stay the course.

I can handle watching baseball and hockey on TV instead of in person, and if the beach seems too crowded, I can wait. The restaurants need business and I’m in favor of the worker bees – those professional servers – returning to work.

We’ll figure out what to do about reopening the schools later, and, for now, I’ll agree. You made the right call by closing them for the remainder of the academic year.

But, c’mon, man! After a year, you seemed different. You were like that rare breed of Republican that actually listened to the other side.

Questioners are gonna question. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

Try being Governor of the whole state.

Your plan to put people back to work seems reasonable. Most of us are smart enough to figure out if you’re doing it correctly.

Just lead, OK? Trust that your plan will justify you in the end.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • John Kociuba

    April 30, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Swipes? No! The Gov. directed by the CDC has ZERO AUTHORITY to suspend the United States Constitution!


    “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley (1932)

    • Tod Stool

      April 30, 2020 at 6:02 am

      Spoken like a true “DumboCrat”.

  • J. Newby

    April 30, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    How is it going to work with door to door sales reps? My daughter works for Trugreen and they are saying they are returning to work on May 18th. Is that going to be allowed due to social distancing?

Comments are closed.


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