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Letters to the editor: DeSantis has failed Florida ‘bigly’ 

The hyperpartisan rhetoric Gov. DeSantis proliferates on the national and local stage is destroying America and the concept of mutual respect. Putting it in the words of his hero from Mar-a-Lago, his tenure as governor "is a beautiful, I mean I never seen such a beautiful" failure.

Average America is done being politically correct, done listening to talking points, and we should make decisions, encourage debate and challenge leaders who are so out of touch with reality and the average person. So, in particular, I challenge Ron DeSantis, (who is not worthy of the title of Governor even though he won it, most likely as the choice between the lesser of two evils) to man up — mandate masks and encourage the vaccine.

DeSantis has decided to rely on the Trump base support and depict an "oasis of freedom" in Florida, all while his constituents and residents are falling ill and dying from his lack of leadership and focus on the health safety and welfare of the state. For many, he has lost a trust he never really had. For others, they blindly follow his rhetoric from the bully pulpit — made the new norm in politics by our former president.

DeSantis has politicized nearly every issue related to COVID. He has politicized masks, the vaccine, school reopenings, lockdowns and unemployment, among other issues. Politicized rather than expressing empathy for both sides of the aisle and working to find a compromise which serves all interests.

Yet, DeSantis exceeded his executive authority and acted with criminal negligence — intentional, willful and wanton conduct to the detriment of the residents of Florida. Rather than act as a uniter for the common benefit, he decided to divide with hyper-partisan rhetoric. Is it criminal? The circumstantial evidence of secret meetings and reliance on "quack" doctors certainly advance the logical inferences a jury could use to come to a guilty verdict.

How about instead of posing for a photo op at a small business restaurant in Florida, he takes a photo outside a hospital and impress upon the citizens of the state that COVID needs to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, that does not support his narrative and only reinforces the lack of respect he demonstrates for authority. If acts disrespectful, his supporters mimic that disrespect toward authority and other citizens.

Whether you believe in the pandemic or not, there is no denying the fact that nearly all hospitalized individuals with COVID currently are the unvaccinated. Everyone has a right to do what they want with their body and if they want to refrain from taking the vaccine, that is their right. However, the refusal to receive the vaccine has associated consequences.

If employers want to require a vaccine for their employees, so be it. If small businesses want to require masks, so be it. If a local community wants to enforce mask mandates because local leaders realize it is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community, let them. A governor cannot usurp the authority of local leaders — not all communities are the same and we are not a one size fits all state or nation.

The sole reason DeSantis does not want localities to be able to enforce mandates is because it hurts his narrative and rhetoric. The little darling of Trump and Fox News is taking a beating from other outlets and society in general for his reluctance to admit a mistake and take steps to protect the citizens. The thirst for fame and power is an Achilles' heel. He openly mocks masks and the CDC directives while at the same time failing to acknowledge the resurgence of the virus and this Delta variant in his state. Wake up, Governor!

Mark my words, DeSantis and Florida will become the butt of the nation. The punchline of a COVID joke. A governor more concerned with his next speech or small business restaurant photo op, rather than protecting his state's residents.

I am not a proponent of lockdowns or closures. Those are not the solution. I know the mask is uncomfortable, but I wear a mask for my fellow citizens and residents. I wear the masks for your children, your parents, your grandparents, your family; not for me. I wear it out of respect for society, whether I know you or not.

Mark Kaley, Winter Garden

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

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