Randy Fine isn’t the easiest representative to deal with.
He’s passionate, at times bombastic even. He has a penchant for hyperbole. He has a knack for dropping bombshell policy proposals — shuttering UCF or consolidating New College and Florida Poly, anyone?
None of those are weaknesses. They’re the qualities that make him among the more effective members of the Legislature.
His zeal and intractability, more often than not, are channeled for the greater good. In 2020, they helped move a bill that would hold polluters to account. He has also used them to get legislation that treats anti-Semitism, or any religious discrimination, in the same manner as racism signed into law.
You could classify it as a pet project. However, that’s a tough argument to make, given a recent incident involving his primary opponent, Marcie Adkins.
Adkins’ social media accounts are mostly benign, though she has allowed a cancerous segment of the Brevard community to spread hate and bigotry.
One of her supporters recently posted — on Adkins public page — that Fine should “go back to Israel.” The comment was liked by at least one other supporter. Despite her campaign’s claim that it was quickly removed, it remained for days.
Fine was — understandably — enraged. He recently called for Adkins to condemn the comment. It’s not an extreme demand. Condemning anti-Semitism is a no-brainer. A bare minimum.
Yet rather than meet the low bar for basic human decency, Adkins found a way to limbo under it by pleading ignorance.
“With respect to any anti-Semitic comments the questions stand: What comments were made by whom, when and where over the weekend? No anti-Semitic comments were made by me or any of my supporters, to my knowledge. Allegations such as this should be made only with proof,” she said in a Facebook post.
That’s a flaccid excuse, even more so considering Adkins has said her campaign was “wrong to state anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.”
By choosing not to denounce the comment, she has given it her tacit approval. She has since outlined her campaign’s policy on “free speech,” saying such comments will never be deleted, and no followers will be banned, no matter the content of their posts.
This isn’t a free speech issue. Hate speech, by definition, is not free speech.
A high schooler who slept through government class would know that.
Maybe Adkins is less prepared for office than your average teenager.
That’s unlikely. She’s an educated woman with a Ph.D. in economics. The logical conclusion is that she has done a cost-benefit analysis and found that enabling anti-Semitism would boost her campaign more than denouncing it. That, in order to win, she must rely on the cruft of the HD 53 electorate being in her corner.
Adkins was faced with a simple choice, and she exposed herself as a cynical politician who is unfit to lead.