Diane Roberts: The Florida Legislature doesn't care what you think

OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – The poor? The hell with them. Education? Don’t make me laugh. The environment? Screw it.

The 2015 Session is more than half way through, and your elected representatives have made it clear they really, truly, do not care what you think. They care what NRA gorgon Marion Hammer thinks. And what Tom Feeney of Associated Industries thinks.

And, of course, US Sugar. It doesn’t do to offend the paymaster.

When the Legislature isn’t wasting time figuring out how to police the genitalia of public restroom users, they’re passing a meaningless joint resolution “informing” (I use the word loosely) President Barack Obama that his Cuba policy is wrong and bad and nobody likes it.

Except 51 percent of all Cuban Americans. They like it. Cuban Americans born in the US like it even better – 66 percent of them.

Numbers can be inconvenient, can’t they? Seventy-five percent of the Floridians who voted in the last election said, quite clearly, they want the state to buy conservation lands. That helps clean up our water – wetlands and marshes act as a water filtration system.

The legislative response so far? Pay state park salaries out of money designated for land acquisition. Fix septic systems. Ignore Florida Forever. Ignore a vital Everglades land deal.

Ignore the will of the people. We could use that Everglades land to clean up the increasingly polluted drinking water for South Florida. But Big Shug wants to develop the land. Their money outranks your vote.

This Legislature’s Republican majority is so far behind the curve, they can’t even see the curve. Hell, they probably deny the very existence of a curve. The Bible doesn’t say anything about curves.

Or guns. But the NRA thinks weapons are holy. An exceedingly stupid bill allowing people who don’t have concealed carry permits to tote guns for 48 hours during an emergency evacuation is headed to the governor for his signature. When the big storm comes, grab the kids, the dog, the wedding photos and the arsenal.

After two days of packing heat there in the emergency shelter, where everyone is stressed out and kids are crying and people are on edge (no potential for tragedy here, no sir!) you must put the guns back in your house. If you still have a house, I guess.

Why does Florida need this bill? Because black people might loot. OK, legislators didn’t quite say “black people,” but Hurricane Katrina was mentioned so many times you kind of got the idea.

And Marion Hammer loves this bill.

As for the bright idea of allowing concealed guns on campus, though the House passed it enthusiastically, its senate counterpart SB 176 may (repeat may) die a well-deserved death. The Hammer isn’t giving up, of course, saying in her best Clint Eastwood voice, “Nothing is dead until Sine Die.”

Meanwhile, some dolt from Florida Carry has been trying to intimidate campus police chiefs and faculty members who spoke against the bill in committee, accusing them of “ethics violations,” demanding emails and personal calendars as if freedom of speech belongs only to barrel-polishers.

The Florida House – on the wrong side of history, as usual – has decided to punish children who need homes. And gay couples who want to adopt them. They’ve decided that adoption and foster care services who object on “religious and moral” grounds to deny gays looking to adopt.

Florida has one of the nation’s worst records on protecting children in care. Moreover, many of these private agencies, the anti-gay ones, receive state money. But what’s a little violation of the Constitution when a passel of perverts want to get their hands on a baby? So a kid’s getting beaten and starved in a hetero home: at least she isn’t getting exposed to gay cooties.

You may be wondering why your elected representatives choose to ignore the 4.2 million voters who said yes to Amendment 1, the vast majority of students, teachers and administrators who say no to guns on campus or at school, or the polls which tell us that most Floridians are fine with gays and want relations with Cuba normalized.

It’s because their seats are safe: their districts have been drawn (by them) to maximize their core voters. The campaigns are funded by the corporate interests – the Kochs, Florida Power & Light, US Sugar, Big Ag, Big Medicine and Big Business.

You don’t pay; you don’t play.

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Her latest book, “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” will be out in paperback in the fall.

One comment

  • Jeffrey Clay Barcus

    April 14, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Keep up the Good Fight DKR! Some of us are listening… The tide will change eventually. Unfortunately when Floridians finally wake up they are going to have an acute hangover to deal with for their mistakes. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.

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