The ongoing “political” debate about Americans and Floridians wearing masks again flies in the face of real science.
President Joe Biden should already know this, but, apparently, he doesn’t.
Thankfully, Gov. Ron DeSantis understands the science and he has, once again, clearly laid out his position. Given the fact that DeSantis has been more right about COVID from the beginning than Biden, there is no way that the governor should “get out of the way” as implored by the president.
Let’s look at the facts. According to the CDC, 189.9 million Americans, or 57 percent of the total U.S, population, have received at least one vaccination shot. According to the Mayo Clinic, 58.4 percent of Floridians have received one shot. Florida 1, the U.S. 0.
So, with everything that DeSantis has done, how is he a problem, Mr. President?
He isn’t, its just that our governor is smarter than our president when it comes to COVID.
It was DeSantis who led the nation last year in ordering that the most vulnerable population – senior citizens – be vaccinated when the CDC was saying otherwise. DeSantis was right, and the CDC eventually came around–and so did the rest of the country–to his way of thinking. Florida 2, the U.S. 0.
It was DeSantis who kept our beaches open in the spring of 2020 when no other state did. He was right to do so because it allowed Floridians and tourists to enjoy the sun and being outside which has helped the mental health of all who participated. Florida 3, the U.S. 0.
It was DeSantis who refused to close Florida’s economy when New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois did. Look at the statistics now. Florida’s economy is roaring, tax revenues are up, businesses are open, unemployment is down,and Floridians are enjoying the freedom that we are entitled to. Florida 4, the U.S. 0.
It was DeSantis who overruled local governments last year on face masks and he has done it again for school-age children starting next week in much of Florida. He is going to be right once again!
For example, in Leon County, where Tallahassee is, only four children under the age of 16 have been hospitalized due to COVID. Four. That’s not enough of a justification to mandate mask-wearing.
So what is the answer?
Vaccinations. And on that issue, the president and our governor agree.
The real problem for America though is the fact, and we all know it, that the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci can’t seem to get on the same page to save their lives. In fact, Fauci can’t even seem to say the same thing from week to week as his recommendations are constantly changing. And, curiously, so are the recommendations from the CDC.
So, how are Americans supposed to trust our federal government when these health “experts” can’t even agree consistently on what to do? Without trust in our government, we are not going to win the COVID battle.
There was a recent column in the Wall Street Journal by Robert Kaplan who indicates that a study indicates that about 35 percent of Americans are never going to get vaccinated. That percentage has been the same form the very beginning of the pandemic.
Therein lies the problem.
According to the study, about 20 percent of Americans refuse to put anything into their body even if there is evidence that the shot is safe and effective and another 15 percent won’t get a shot. In either case, it is going to be impossible to break through to these people as the former are never going to change their minds and the latter are only going to do the right thing if they are forced to, and there is little likelihood that government will be able to compel vaccinations.
The real divergence between the president and our governor is over masks and, interestingly, this has also manifested itself through political ideology.
Democrats seem very fearful and therefore want everyone to protect themselves and others, and they want to tell everyone how they must live their daily lives – command and control.
Republicans, on the other hand, believe in personal responsibility. They don’t want to tell anyone else how to live their daily lives because they believe in freedom and choice – and they don’t want anyone telling them what to do.
This fundamental divide can’t be resolved.
The mainstream media continues to harp on the Delta variant, talking about “skyrocketing” or “surging” COVID hospitalizations without ever clearly informing Americans that 90 percent or more of current COVID patients are unvaccinated. The annoying propaganda of the last 18 months is wearing thin and people don’t believe the media any more than they do the president.
If a business or store requires a mask, that is their right. Of course, it is your right to shop there or not. It’s as simple as that.
Finally, Mr. President, a little bit of advice.
Leave DeSantis alone. You are just making him look better every day because, ultimately, most Americans will always choose freedom and the “pursuit of happiness.”
Barney Bishop III is a life-long Democrat, and former Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party. He also is the immediate past-Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Florida, known as “The Voice of Florida Business.” Currently he is the CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, a strategic public affairs firm in Tallahassee and he can be reached at Barney@BarneyBishop.com