Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Diane Roberts: The unavoidable subject of stupid

in Top Headlines by

OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – Which is worse: stupid and evil or smart and evil?

It’s a thought experiment: you can apply it to, say, George W. and Jeb Bush, Rick Scott and Adam Putnam, the Florida House and – Jesus, those idiots don’t deserve to be in the same paragraph as the word “thought.”

But while we’re on the unavoidable subject of stupid: remember the amendment to the state constitution passed by an overwhelming margin last year? You probably voted for it.

In addition to the $1 billion surplus the delusional Rick Scott claims he helped create (yeah, and I keep the sun revolving around the Earth), Florida should have about $750 million of doc stamp tax to spend on the environment. With that kind of cash (it’s still less than one percent of the state’s overall budget), we should be able to buy critical Everglades land, fully fund Florida Forever and start getting serious about springs protection.

Yet because the Florida Legislature is mostly populated by venal twits who’d rather see the Everglades paved and Dade County drowned than let themselves be accused of the slightest tinge of green, instead the House passed a water bill written by Big Shug, Big Ag and Big Development to benefit Big Shug, Big Ag and Big Development – not water.

And you know those state parks we’re so proud of? They win awards, they’re visited by 27 million people a year, they generate over $2 billion per year, but Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature, and Florida’s Department of Environmental Prostitution wants to force my parks, your parks, to become nothing but commercial enterprises. They’ll graze cattle on land that belongs to you. They’ll cut trees that belong to you. They’ll put up cell towers in wild places that belong to you.

Or used to belong to you.

The parks make 77 percent of the money needed to run them, but the new madam, er, head of DEP, Jon Steverson, late of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, thinks the parks should pay for themselves and turn a tidy profit, too. Why should a bunch of stupid Nature get in the way of bidness? Shift it, panther! Out of the way, there, scrub jay! Scroungers.

Because – repeat after me, kids – MONEY IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

Happily, the bills that would have turned our parks into crass enterprise zones croaked when the House flounced out of town before the end of the session. They feared their heads would explode if they had to agree with the Senate that yes, it might be a good idea to expand Medicaid for upwards of a million impoverished Floridians.

If God liked those people, he would buy them insurance. But He doesn’t. So He won’t. All that matters is that we stick it to Barack Hussein Obama.

Of course, there will have to be another session – a “special” session, they call it – special in that it will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rick Scott may even visit Tallahassee in between going around insulting other states and licking the boots (or certain choice body parts) of the Kochs as he campaigns robotically for the United States Senate.

If we don’t have a budget by the first of July, Florida is, well, a verb I can’t use in a family blog like this, but it kind of sounds like “fracked.”

Will we have a budget? The House is full of people like Master Matt Gaetz, R-FratHouse, whose very being reminds us all that education, a well-connected family and an expensive smartphone can’t transform you from a vulgar little jerk who owes his career to his daddy’s money into a genuine human being.

Remember how on opening day of the 2012 session, he tweeted, “With all of the lovely flowers in the House Chamber, I can barely smell the Occupy people outside” ? Here’s one from 2015 about the lawsuit filed by Florida Democrats against the Florida House of Representatives for ignoring the Florida Constitution, claiming the suit “reads like it was researched and drafted by Sen Joyner……and spell checked by Sen Bullard.”

Hilarious. Yet his wit failed him when the Supreme Court ruled that the Democrats’ suit was correct, and though the members could not be rounded up like nuisance dogs and hauled back to Tallahassee to do the job for which they were elected, the House did indeed violate the state constitution.

Master Matt’s manners failed him, too: Gaetz didn’t even apologize properly. Now, boys and girls, he’s running for the District 1 state Senate seat in 2016. That’s the one now occupied by his sire. His stated reason for running (as opposed to his real reason, which is to set himself up for a cabinet post, then Congress or the Governor’s Mansion)? He wants to make the Senate more conservative. Just like the House.

So much to look forward to: denuded state forests, algae-choked rivers, emergency rooms full of sick poor people, Miami drinking salt water, no public education. Florida – the rules really are different here.

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University.

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