Whose side is Florida’s GOP on?

They’re on the side of the virus, sickness, and death.

Don’t get me wrong: The people of Florida elected them, had every right to do so, and are perfectly entitled to empower Republican anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers to kill them, if that’s what they want. I’m not questioning election results, or the legitimacy of Florida voters’ suicidal inclinations.

I just wish they weren’t taking their children with them. This is like dragging kids to the Kool-Aid tables, and the kids have no say about it.

Anyway, the topic of today’s study of Florida’s bizarre political culture involves the appointment of a state surgeon general, the railroading of his nomination through the legislature, and the Democratic legislators’ refusing to be a party to either the nominee or the process by walking out of his confirmation hearing discussing this appointment. (See story here.)

Dr. Joseph Ladapo (bio here) is going to be confirmed, that was never in doubt, so let’s go directly to what’s wrong with him. Or almost directly.

First, a bit of background is necessary. Florida is different from other states in that county health departments aren’t independent, but are under the state health department, which Dr. Ladapo will run when (not if) he’s confirmed to the post of surgeon general. That gives him extraordinary power over local health officials. He can, from his office, run the entire state health system and suppress dissenting professional views at the county and local levels.

He was nominated for this job by Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of the Covid-19 virus’s best friends in all of America, and a sworn enemy of saving Floridians’ lives. So, naturally, he’ll function as a fountain of specious excuses for the killer governor’s anti-health policies. Let’s look very briefly at how he rationalizes away DeSantis’ Covid-19 insanity.

First, he says of the Democrats’ walking out of his confirmation hearing, “I certainly wish them well. I have no ill will towards them and I hope we can work together on issues of public health relevance to Floridians.” Given the rest of what I’m about to tell you, there’s zero chance of that. Democrats don’t cooperate with killers.

The Hill says, “Earlier this month, he said it was time to ‘really time for people to be living, to make the decisions they want regarding vaccination, to enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity,’ despite surging COVID-19 cases in the state.” What about this who don’t have natural immunity, and haven’t been vaccinated either? (Also, note that people who’ve already had Covid-19 are getting it again.) This is crazy.

“In October,” The Hill says, “he also defended his choice to refuse to wear a mask during a meeting with a state senator who has breast cancer.” Frankly, if she gets Covid-19 from him, and dies, if it were up to me I’d prosecute him for manslaughter. Otherwise, I’d prosecute him for assault.

In this time of health crisis, here’s how his priorities stack up: “It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people. I can’t do that when half of my face is covered. Having a conversation with someone while wearing a mask is not something I find productive, especially when other options exist.”

Those “options,” apparently, were these: “Ladapo offered to hold the meeting outside or to sit outside of her office in the hallway” (see story here). He can hear her better, and she can hear him better, sitting in different spaces with a door between them, than through a mask? Now you see what I mean about specious rationalizations.

What his priorities boil down to is that avoiding the inconvenience of speaking through a mask is more important to him than someone else’s life.

There’s nothing to be done about this. Ladapo will be Florida’s surgeon general. That will be the health policy throughout Florida. All I can say is, if you’re thinking of moving to Florida, don’t. Don’t even visit. And if you’re there now, get out while you still can. Leave Florida to Floridians. You don’t want anything to do with that place. And for God’s sake don’t vote for DeSantis if he’s the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee, because then he’ll try to kill all of us, not just Floridians.

Related: According to Johns Hopkins’ Covidtracker website, the virus has killed 874,510 Americans as of Wednesday, January 26, 2022; and I heard this week (I think on NBC Nightly News) that Covid-19 is still killing ~2,200 Americans every day. Both locally in Seattle, where I am, and nationally, the news has been filled with stories of overwhelmed hospitals and burned-out health care workers. The Omicron variant is no joke. We all need to take it seriously, which means masks and social distancing even if you’re vaccinated and boosted, because this variant is much more transmissible, and “breakthrough” infections of vaccinated people are happening. And stay away from Republicans, because they’re not taking it seriously.

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