Poor ‘King DeSantis.’ He doesn’t know how mask-wearing became so political in Florida | Opinion

·5 min read

There’s no limit to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ cynicism when it comes to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. His sick, misleading messaging, too often flippantly delivered, matters.

This week, in one of his make-believe-I-care press conferences, DeSantis had the gall to feign ignorance about the key role he has played fueling a political culture war around masks.

“I don’t know why the masks have politics around it,” DeSantis told journalists. “Let the parent make the decision that’s best for their kids. If you want the masks, do it, if you don’t, don’t — that’s fine.”

But it’s not fine.

There are families like mine having to test their children for COVID — for the second time since school started — because half the charter school they attend in North Florida goes unmasked, thanks to DeSantis.

The school owners follow the governor as fervently as they did Donald Trump.

Consequently, some unmasked children in our children’s classrooms have tested positive, starting a never-ending cycle of angst, quarantine and testing, which is difficult in these parts of the state without the proper resources to deal with the summer surge. And during the kids’ quarantine, there’s no virtual-school option like last year.

Talk about falling behind. DeSantis’ policies are the gift that keeps on giving bad returns.

Still, he expects us to be stupid enough to believe he’s a pillar of piousness when it comes to the politics of the coronavirus.

As schools open, Florida children with COVID pack pediatric hospitals. DeSantis doesn’t care | Opinion

DeSantis fuels political divide

Oh, poor Floriduh King DeSantis, chief instigator of the mask divide. He doesn’t know how mask-wearing became political.

Maybe he should review his campaign website’s merchandise, which is selling kitschy items with one-liners diminishing the severity of COVID and mocking health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease authority, to appeal to his rowdy base.

A $6 beer koozie promotes one of his most famous anti-masking messages: “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

Amid deadly COVID, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is selling on his campaign merchandise website a beer koozie that promotes one of his anti-masking messages: ”How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” But the Republican now claims he doesn’t know how mask-wearing became political.
Amid deadly COVID, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is selling on his campaign merchandise website a beer koozie that promotes one of his anti-masking messages: ”How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” But the Republican now claims he doesn’t know how mask-wearing became political.

A T-shirt with a silhouette of the state boasts: “Don’t Fauci My Florida.”

Florida Gov. DeSantis’ campaign merchandise takes a swipe at Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Florida Gov. DeSantis’ campaign merchandise takes a swipe at Dr. Anthony Fauci.

They’re not funny at all.

DeSantis fueled culture war over masks, vaccine. So, of course, Florida leads COVID surge | Opinion

DeSantis changes his divisive tune, but he doesn’t

To find our way out of the COVID crisis in Florida, we need to convince the non-believers in life-saving vaccines and mask-wearing that mitigation is vital. Yet, this becomes nearly impossible every time DeSantis opens his mouth to attack educators who teach science and follow science instead of politics.

He chastises people trying to do what he himself isn’t interested in doing: putting our children first — and the parents’ politics later.

Two children dead from COVID in Jacksonville, including a 2-week-old baby, were among the casualties last week. Two more children dead in Tallahassee last month are four too many, proof that kids can be hit hard with a variant more contagious than we’ve seen before.

Miami-Dade is a hot COVID mess, but we have company all over Florida. Thank DeSantis | Opinion

The deaths in DeSantis’ Florida are cloaked in mystery under claims of privacy, so of course, we can’t learn much from them — only hope that others wake up from denial and do what they need to do to mitigate risk: Vaccinate and mask up.

There should be no question that children, especially the unvaccinated under 12, must be encouraged to wear a mask indoors, not discouraged, as DeSantis constantly promotes.

Families are as politically red-blue divided as the state and the country, so what the governor says makes a difference.

When DeSantis sits on the sidelines without launching a credible state campaign to vaccinate that speaks to his hesitant people — as we remain mired in record-breaking numbers of infected and deaths — his lack of leadership leaves a vacuum filled by disinformation.

His misuse of power is unforgivable.

DeSantis’ cutesy one-liners may garner headlines, but they’re a slap in the face to the Floridians who have lost loved ones to the pandemic. As of this writing, Florida has recorded at least 3,409,0123 confirmed COVID cases and 48,277 deaths.

But there seems to be no number too high for DeSantis.

Most despicable are his bullish threats and court challenges to educators trying to keep children and teachers from contracting the deadly disease.

The governor had the opportunity to let his ill-informed ban on masks in public schools go after a Tallahassee judge, citing language in the “Parents Bill of Rights” the Florida Legislature passed and DeSantis signed, ruled that local school districts could mandate masks to keep children safe in the middle of this health crisis.

But no, DeSantis appealed, and on Friday the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with DeSantis, reinstating a stay on Judge John Cooper’s ruling and allowing the ban on mask mandates to stand while the case is under appeal.

It’s another blow in the fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 that keeps this school year from hardly being the model of stability and learning DeSantis claims to be seeking.

Nobody wants to wear a mask every day any more than a school uniform, but children will follow the lead of adults and wear them if they must.

DeSantis acts and speaks as if this is the end of the world.

It’s not.

This is: sitting in a parking lot for hours in the heat of a Florida summer, week in and week out, when your children did mask up but others didn’t, waiting for a COVID test after yet another kid in your child’s class tests positive for the virus.

It’s happening in half-masked Florida.

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