Joe Henderson: Is it asking too much to show a little common decency?
Tina Polsky lets loose a wave of endorsements for her re-election bid.

Tina Polsky received death threats after asking Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo to leave her office when he wouldn't wear a mask.

If you need more proof that the world is upside down, look no further than the latest developments in the Joseph Ladapo saga. He’s the Florida Surgeon General, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis but awaiting Senate confirmation.

As most everyone surely knows by now, Sen.Tina Polsky, facing Stage 1 breast cancer, asked Ladapo and his two aides to wear face coverings for a meeting in her office. When they refused, she asked them to leave.

The backlash against Ladapo was swift and bipartisan; even Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican, condemned Ladapo.

So, what happens next? Was Ladapo shown the door? Did he issue an unequivocal apology for his egregious behavior, especially for a medical man who should know better?

No and no.

What did happen is that Polsky’s phone began receiving creepy voicemails from the lunatic fringe. Some of them threatened to kill her for the high crime of asking three men to have some freakin’ courtesy and respect.

It’s not surprising, though. Anyone in a high-profile position understands the risks of putting themselves out there. The burning match is always just an inch away from the fuse, and now the culprits can hide behind anonymous message boards and voicemail.

They have been fruitful and multiplied.

The rhetoric is worse, too.

School board members around Florida report harassment from parents furious about critical race theory. Florida schools don’t teach that, but it made a nice sound bite for DeSantis, and the mob took it from there.

Republican Rep. Randy Fine was up in arms because Brevard County School Board members cleared the room at a meeting that turned into a shouting match. When they didn’t allow people back in, Fine filed a criminal complaint about a Sunshine Law violation and said the Board was made up of “tinpot dictators” who cower in the face of criticism over their decisions.

Yet, in the 2021 Legislative Session, lawmakers excluded the public from attending meetings where lawmakers debated critical laws. That included DeSantis’ vaunted “anti-riot” bill and liability shields for businesses.

The official reason was COVID-19 protocols, but school board members might ask why they can’t require the same rules for their meetings.

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto said he received death threats from viewers for the high crime of encouraging viewers to get vaccinated.

“This is not about left or right, and this is not about who’s conservative or liberal. Last time I checked, everyone, regardless of their political persuasion, is coming down with this,” Cavuto said. “Take the political speaking points and toss them for now, I’m begging you. Toss them and think of what’s good, not only for yourself but for those around you.”

Email makes people brave.

For her part, Polsky certainly didn’t need nor desire to be in the center of this controversy as she began radiation treatment for her cancer.

I wish I could figure out, get into his head. I said to him specifically, ‘is there a reason why you can’t wear a mask,'” she told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

She added, “… he wouldn’t give me an answer. He kind of smiles smugly and tries to turn the conversation, and he kept trying to engage me.”

Ladapo’s answer was, well, strange.

“Having a conversation with someone while wearing a mask is not something I find productive, especially when other options exist. It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people,” he said. “I can’t do that when half of my face is covered.”

Surgeons make life or death decisions in the operating room with their faces covered. Meetings go on all over the country every day involving people wearing masks.

And actually, I think Ladapo communicated quite effectively in his encounter with Polsky. He clearly showed common courtesy is dead in his world. The people who left those threats on Polsky’s phone heard him loud and clear.

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.


  • Tom

    October 27, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Your right Joe.
    The repeated references to the Gov as “Deathsantis” or that he doesn’t care bout people.

    The hit job by CBS earlier this year on Covid which was clearly debunked.

    Or the fake AP “Regeneron” monoclonal scandal, which was debunked as a non story.

    Decency you ask, how bout the hate towards non vaccine people. Regardless of how you or I feel, people have a right to choose.

    Yeah your right Joe. What bout the decency,

    • Sister Agnes of de Bronx

      October 31, 2021 at 2:22 pm

      How about the English language, Tom? You see, the purpose of the written word is to communicate, not baffle and confuse. Your use of “your,” for example. Opening line: “Your right Joe.” Are you referring to his right hand? Or were you trying to say “You are right, Joe.” If the latter is the case, then the word you failed to use is “you’re” — it’s a conjunction that means “you are.”
      Next, your references to debunked stories need some background information, a quick summary perhaps, otherwise no one knows what the fuck you are talking about.
      And who are “non vaccine people,” pray tell? Do you mean anti-vaccine? The English language is a precise instrument, and should be used precisely.
      Hope this helps, and bless your heart.

      • Tom

        October 31, 2021 at 4:40 pm

        Sister yes, you are to ignorant to read, comprehend, decipher, and ultimately understand.

        So go spank some mannequins in the attic, you know what I mean Sister Mary elephant.

        My communication is for intelligent people’s. Not socialist hacks like Alex and weasel peter h.

        Go help the predators at Lincoln Org. You have understanding spanking self.

        Of course you can’t deal with truth or substance. No one likes to read him, but I do share the truth.


  • Charles

    October 28, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Jackassery Joe Henderson calling for common decency is more UNBELIEVABLE HYPOCRISY, by a known and established hypocrite. This decrepit old clown embraces yellow journalism consistently.
    Jackassery Joe Strives makes his living being a fraud and divider. Beyond time this gutter snipe gets put out with the garbage and trash.

    • Mother Superior Free Shot

      October 31, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      But you love to read him and get your ass all riled up, don’t you Charles? Then you get to call him names and deride him for being older than you are — what a brave and simple lad you are! Do you call your mother or father decrepit? Do you? Because if you do, we might need some Freudian Counseling. But if you don’t, then why not? It’s okay for some people to be older, but not liberals?
      Perhaps you are twelve years old. If that is the case, everything you say makes sense and all we have to do is wait for you to grow up, if that is possible.

  • Ron Ogden

    October 28, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    “For her part, Polsky certainly didn’t need nor desire to be in the center of this controversy as she began radiation treatment for her cancer. “I wish I could figure out, get into his head. I said to him specifically, ‘is there a reason why you can’t wear a mask,’” she told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.”
    If, as you baselessly claim, she didn’t want to be in the center of this controversy, she could have done two things: first, she could have diffused the situation at the outset by saying, “I respect Dr. Ladapo’s decision and we parted amicably.” Second, she could have refused the MSNBC’s offer of TV time on its left wing channel. But she did neither. She is exploiting it for all it is worth.” Shame on her.

    • Sister Elizabeth Bobbitt

      October 31, 2021 at 2:31 pm

      She’s exploiting her breast cancer? What kind of fucking idiot logic is that? You have no idea what she is experiencing, and yet you claim to read her mind. You lack the compassion for the one and the talent for the other. Bless your heart, and thank you for not smoking.

      • Tom

        October 31, 2021 at 5:20 pm

        You are really ignorant Sister Liz Bobbing head. Just go back to the attic and spank mannequins with sister agnew and superior mother.
        You know what I mean.

Comments are closed.


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