What in the world is going on with Florida?
The entire world—doctors, scientists, politicians across the spectrum, and people of every shape and stripe—are in agreement over two basic facts: (1) Covid-19 is a highly communicable pandemic and (2) non-pharmaceutical interventions or NPIs (viz., social distancing—aka #StayTheFuckHome) must be swiftly enacted to counter the growing surge of infections—and the hospitalizations and deaths they lead to.
And yet Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to issue a statewide stay-at-home order? Are you kidding me?
And let’s be clear, we’re not talking about Wyoming here, which only has 120 reported cases to date.
Florida is ranked #5 now in the US, with 6,741 cases (as of early 4/1/20), behind only New York, New Jersey, California and Michigan—all known hotspots with state-wide lockdowns in place.
But don’t worry… New Yorkers are fleeing in droves to bring even more infection to the sunshine state!
Adding to the urgency and concern regarding DeSantis’ grossly negligent inability to act is the fact that Florida has one of the largest populations of seniors in the country—if not the world. The very folks who have the least ability to fight the virus. Florida is a virtual covid-19 bomb just waiting to explode.
And, the healthcare system there is always under stress because of the large older population. Hospitals are routinely at or near capacity due to all the normal and natural needs of this aging population. Unlike many other states, it won’t take much to push their system over the breaking point.
And yet DeSantis continues to bury his head in the sand and do nothing. But we shouldn’t be surprised—he was the one after all that refused to close the beaches and shutdown spring break. You just can’t make this stuff up! (beaches and sandbars that are still hopping and popping with droves of ignorant folks)
I’ve always said that nothing exposes leaders and fakers like a serious crisis. The coronavirus pandemic will one of those crises… and it has exposed DeSantis.
The antithesis would be NY Governor Cuomo—who has done an amazing job dealing with the crisis and exerting strong leadership. Understand, I am not a fan of Cuomo—and that’s putting it mildly! There is very, very little we agree on. However, I am able and willing to recognize his executive leadership for the people of New York in this circumstance.
DeSantis stated in a press conference on Tuesday (3/31/20) that the state would adhere to general guidance on the covid-19 virus from the White House but that he had not received a direct request from President Trump or his administration to close the entire state.
Specifically, he stated:
“I’m in contact with them and basically I’ve said, ‘Are you guys recommending this? The task force has not recommended that to me. If they do, obviously that is something that would carry a lot of weight with me. If any of those task force folks tell me that we should do X, Y or Z, of course we’re going to consider it. But nobody has said that to me thus far.”Source
There are so many things wrong with this statement it’s hard to know where to start. To keep it succinct, I’ll limit it to two critical issues…
First, President Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he is not planning on issuing a national lockdown. He has been very clear that it is the responsibility of state governors to make that call based on facts on the ground in their states. He has been very clear—especially in the past few days—that things are going to get very bad and everyone should be taking every step possible to slow down the spread—like governors issuing #StayTheFuckHome orders???
Second, governors are elected by the people to serve and protect their best interests—independent and irrespective of the federal government. That’s the whole point of state’s rights. In other words, Governor DeSantis, you were elected by the citizens of Florida to lead—not follow. That’s what the job is about—using your brain to analyze data and then make a quick but informed decision.
What the hell is he waiting for? A personal message from God? A neon sign flashing in the sky? Be a leader and lead your people!
Again, we will all witness our leadership—at the family, community, state, and federal level—be tested in the crucible of Covid-19. Be very cautious who you put your faith in—many will fail and let folks down.
In the end, we have a personal responsibility to do what needs to be done to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
The coronavirus pandemic is not a hoax. This is not about 5G, implants, the illuminati, or some cloak and dagger attempt at world domination. It is a virus. I very communicable and deadly virus. That’s it. No more… no less. Don’t read into things, don’t fall down the bottomless rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, and don’t bury your head and the sand and ignore reality (aka “it’s just a hoax”).
Continuously do your own unbiased and original research, analyze your findings, and lead based on your battlefield decisions—being willing to adjust as the facts change (and they will as they do with any “fog of battle” scenario).
True leaders have three distinguishing characteristics:
First, leaders have the ability to build strong teams of subject matter experts and the ability to listen to them
Second, leaders have the ability to make decisions—to take swift and aggressive action when necessary (based on #1)
Third, leaders are inherently comfortable with making tough decisions under pressure and time constraints—understanding that the ultimate (long-term) outcome may prove their actions weren’t perfect. In a crisis, they don’t care about the long-term… they care about the immediate (albeit imperfect) actions that must be taken based on the facts they have available at the time.
To illustrate, a leader in combat can’t be worried about how their actions will be judged six-months or a year later. When their squad comes under fire, they must take the battlefield intelligence they have available, their experience and judgement, and make decisions—they must act. They can’t wait for a call from heaven (or DC) to tell them what they should do!
Yes, there are times when patience is required, and inaction is actually prudent. However, that is not the case in rapidly escalating, short-term crisis—especially where lives are literally on the line.
As John Stuart Mill stated in 1867, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” Or, as paraphrased by President John F. Kennedy (and misattributed to Edmund Burke), “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Governor DeSantis needs to stop doing nothing. The good people of Florida—including my parents and my sister’s family—deserve better. They deserve leadership—leadership in a governor who is not afraid to act and doesn’t need to be told what to do by equally inept leadership at the federal level!
The broader takeaway is that—when it comes to our families—we need to be effective leaders.
We need to take action whenever and however it needs to be taken. Don’t wait for the cavalry to ride in on white horses and tell you what to do—they will be too late (if they arrive at all) and will rarely provide you with accurate information and/or guidance.
[For example: Their inexcusably ignorant advice to not wear facemasks—and messaging that they’re pointless and even potentially dangerous!]
Instead, use your brain, critical thinking skills, and God’s guidance to make decisions. They may not be perfect… but they are almost always better than not having made a one at all!
Shortly after publishing this article, Governor DeSantis finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order… finally caving to the local and federal bipartisan pressure he was under.
However, he still made it abundantly clear that he was incapable of acting unilaterally, noting that his decision to issue the order came only after “consulting with President Trump and White House advisers, who have said that Americans need to stay at home throughout April.”
In fact, the U.S. surgeon general (not the brightest bulb himself) stated on NBC’s “Today” show this morning that he would tell DeSantis that the federal guidelines for social distancing should be viewed as a “national stay-at-home order.”
When surgeon general Adams has to educate you… you know you’re riding the short bus!
I guess DeSantis finally got his neon message (two of them)… but, if I was a Floridian, I would have zero confidence in his ability to manage the growing crisis in Florida!