Several years back, when I was a reporter and editor with the Polk County Democrat in Bartow, Florida, I seized upon an assignment. Then Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — who, in my opinion, should have been Florida’s current governor instead of Ron DeSantis, had it not been for “dark money and President Trump’s endorsement — was going to be conducting a news conference at one of the orange groves in the county. Attending would be Sen. Marco Rubio.
For those who may not be aware, for more than a decade Florida’s orange growers have been plagued by a disease known as citrus greening.
Citrus greening (also known as Huanglongbing or HLB) is a disease spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. The psyllid feeds on the stems and leaves of the trees, infecting the trees with the bacteria that causes citrus greening. Greening impairs the tree’s ability to take in nourishment, ultimately resulting in fewer and smaller fruit over time. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. (source: floridacitrus.org)
Let me tell you, after having met Rubio and spoken with him at the press conference, plus listening to him ask some of the most inane questions of Putnam and several citrus grove owners and managers present, the senator is not the brightest of people.
I understand that you cannot have a deep understanding and knowledge of everything, but at least do your homework. Have a basic grasp, especially about an industry after tourism for which Florida is renown across the U.S., if indeed, the entire world.
Rubio displayed none of that; it was almost as if he was there reluctantly. Regardless, he and his co-hort, Sen. Rick Scott (Florida’s most recent past governor) and current Gov. DeSantis, are whom give rise to “Floriduh Man; in other words, it’s not just the stupid males who do dumb things in outlandish ways that gets them arrested.
But for Rubio and other members of the House and Senate who pooh-poohed the pandemic (and he was one of the leading ones who did it), all in order to stay within Trump’s good graces, it’s infuriating. I am more than just a tad outraged, as all of us should be, that Rubio and other members of congress are among the first in line to get inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine.
This is not right, and no amount of so-called “justification” will ever make it so. What has Rubio and the others done to deserve preferential treatment; incidentally, this outrage is also directed towards the elected officials from both parties, including those who have supported the contention that the pandemic is real.
I don’t care whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents, what have you, time and again you politicos have called upon we, the American people, to sacrifice, and this is how you thank us. By jumping to the head of the line while at the same time across the nation those who are most at risk are sometimes placed on the lower tiers of who gets the vaccines.
To you who hold elected office, I wish upon you the following:
May you inherit a mansion with a thousand rooms, and may you roll from room to room with unbroken fever. Or if this is too harsh an invective, try this one: May you inherit a mansion with a thousand rooms and in each room a hated mother-in-law.
Steve Steiner can be reached at: email@example.com