Daniel Tilson: Gov. Scott touts Florida 'Exceptionalism' full of exceptions

Once again, Rick Scott owes George Orwell a debt of gratitude. Without the classic novel “1984” and its primer on political doublespeak, the governor’s State of the State speech this week would have been way more…let’s say transparent, since that’s a word repeatedly and ridiculously run through Scott’s Orwellian propaganda grinder recently.

My dictionary defines doublespeak as a noun meaning:

  1. language that can be understood in more than one way and that is used to trick or deceive people
  1. language used to deceive usually through concealment or misrepresentation of truth; also: gobbledygook

Sure, most insiders, politicos and pundits get what the governor is up to, or sinking down to, depending on your point of view. Hell, a large share of the 160 legislators sitting and nodding their way through the speech are all too accomplished themselves at the same kind of mind-numbing oratorical gamesmanship.

But let’s face it, some of them may have gone from nodding to nodding out for a moment here or there. And so for them and the millions of Floridians who don’t have time to decipher the truth behind the speech, let’s dive right into the gobbledygook itself to glean what I mean

Scott waxed…well, not eloquent, but he waxed with positivity and pride about the state of our state, saying, “I believe we are the best place in the country and the world to make dreams come true. I call this Florida exceptionalism.”

The exceptions – as demonstrated by a data-driven drumbeat of nonpartisan scholarly studies showing steadily growing poverty, middle-class stagnation and a profound lack of upward mobility opportunities on Rick Scott’s watch – would be the millions of Floridians who work their asses off with no fair chance of their dreams coming true.

That nightmare is thanks entirely to the anti-poor/middle class, anti-worker and anti-union policies of Scott and Republican colleagues in the Legislature. They are directly responsible for the minimum wage nobody can live on, the absence of mandatory paid sick leave days, the lack of health insurance, the block on union organizing…and more.

Still, Scott took an early pass at professing unity with legislators, noting they didn’t have to go into government service, but wanted to. “And, like me” he said, “…you wanted to work for the people of Florida because you know we are the best state in the country.”

The exception there is, all the legislators who wanted to work for the people of Florida because they know that under Gov. Scott our state is one of the stingiest nationwide at giving struggling low-income residents the resources – not handouts, the resources they need to get off government assistance and become self-sufficient consumers contributing to economic growth.

“I think a lot about how we can make Florida the place where our children’s and grandchildren’s dreams come true,” said the governor. “In order to be a land where dreams come true, I believe we have to out-compete the rest of the world…We are the second best state for business by CEO Magazine, and we will soon be number one.”

The exception to that belief system and strategy is a critical one.

Without top priorities of humanistic compassion for all Floridians and a demonstrable commitment to equal economic opportunities for all, the goal of becoming CEO Magazine’s number one best state for business will leave us with a Florida where only the dreams of the children and grandchildren of rich folks like Rick Scott are likely to come true.

And that’s a nightmare we’ll have a hell of a hard time waking up from.

Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for non-profits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Daniel Tilson


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