By not denouncing anti-Semitism, Marcie Adkins enables it

Marcie Adkins
Denouncing anti-Semitism should be a no-brainer.

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.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

One comment

  • Ed V

    May 14, 2020 at 8:49 pm


    You are a talented man with a great deal to offer. This website provides a tremendous amount of political content that the average citizen in Florida has no way of knowing unless they are inside of the process. Much of your analysis is on target and the candid way you write is refreshing.

    I am not sure how you missed an obvious problem in your article unless you are unaware of it. The strong language you used may indeed mean you are unaware. The statement I am referring to is:

    “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.”

    Perhaps you are correct that someone who took government in high school would think such a thing due to the philosophical beliefs the teachers in high school government classes hold. However, anyone who took political science in collage or first year law would know that your statement is incorrect. Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America (1978), R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992}, Texas v. Johnson (1989), and Snyder v. Phelps (2011) would be good US Supreme Court cases for you to review. I could go through key points in each case but this quote from Texas v. Johnson may sum it up best:

    “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” — Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan

    That said, I find antisemitism and racism to be disgusting and despicable. As a political candidate, she should disavow antisemitism and fire anyone on her staff that condones it. However, if she wants to double down and go after the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) voters that populate one wing of the Democratic Party then that is her right to do so. It is also the right of the voters of that district to rebuke her and send a message that antisemitism will not be tolerated by voting for Randy Fine instead.

    I would hope that you review the case law on free speech versus hate speech and correct your position from this point forward. Case law is clear.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn