When clowns collide

Of course you realize that this means war! Bugs Bunny to Elmer Fudd.

The 2022 legislative session has not even begun and already our fearless solons are signaling that no mercy will be shown, no quarter given, to the shady collection of evildoers that, together, make up the single greatest threat to Florida’s health, safety and welfare (not to mention continued GOP dominance).

You know, the elected school board members and county and city commissioners of Florida. A more motley gang of ne’er-do-wells can scarcely be envisioned.

The first shot across the bow of the GOM (Gang Of Mot) was fired on a most unlikely target.

“Are Key West’s days as a city numbered? A draft bill…would “transfer all of the city’s assets and legitimate liabilities and revenue streams to Monroe County.”

This war dispatch from the Florida Keys weekly Newspapers, followed the discovery of a bill that bore the name of no sponsor. But it was apparently introduced in a fit of pique by some lawmaker or lobbyist (no difference really) who was upset because Key West folks are tired of the collective weight of cruise ship-loads of tourists nearly sinking the damned island every damned day,

Old timers know it’s not wise to mess with cranky Key West, which has been around longer than the State of Florida. And sure enough in retaliation the Conch Republic dispatched its navy to blockade the Overseas Highway.

(Or at least it will as soon as everybody down there sobers up and somebody remembers where they hid the key to City Hall.)

But never mind that. Lawmakers have much bigger fish to fry than the, um, square mullet that famously wash ashore in the keys.

Start with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act, a really clever play on words intended to rile liberals and tickle conservatives (aka real Floridians, aka the GOP base).

Basically the Stop The Wrongs To Our Kids And Employees Act (get it! Cute, huh?) will prevent public schools from teaching anything at all that any parent at all might find at all objectionable. {“Don’t tell me you picked red finger-paint by accident, Ms. Socialist Kindergarten Teacher!”)

Vows DeSantis. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”

Certainly not. Teaching hate is his job.

Hey, remember when attending school board meetings was like watching paint dry? Not anymore. Not with every right wing nut job in town waiving signs and throwing shade at shell-shocked board members who got their start working PTA bake sales.

And that’s just peachy with Republican legislators, who stay awake nights worrying that said RWNJs will finally figure out who is really making education decisions in Florida. (Let’s just say they work in a tall phallic-shaped building on top of a hill in Tallahassee and let it go at that.)

Thus to make already tumultuous board meeting even more entertaining, legislation in the Senate would require boards to provide even more time for public comment, live stream their meetings…and oblidge school board members to conduct their meetings while perched over a dunking booth.

(OK, that last provision isn’t actually in the bill…yet. But it’ll definitely pop up as an amendment

Not to be outdone, our own state Sen. Keith Perry (R-I hate Gainesville worse then death itself) is pushing bills designed to prevent city and county commissioners from doing anything at all in the event of a pandemic.

Not wanting to appear completely dictatorial, Perry is rumored to be carrying a “friendly” amendment around in his pocket that would give commissioners dispensation to wander the streets in plague masks while shouting “Unclean! Unclean!

This from Alachua County spokesperson Mark Sexton: “Where does one even go to obtain medieval plague masks in this day and age? It’s not like they sell ‘em at Walmart. We’d have to buy them in bulk and put out a Request for Proposals. By that time there will be bodies all over the place, and what a mess that’s gonna be.”

Which mess of course is not the Legislature’s problem. The Legislature’s messy problem is making sure DeSantis gets reelected in ‘22 and then packed off to the D.C. Swamp in ‘24 instead of In-Trump-We-Trust or, God forbid, that Stetson-wearing Texan Abbott.

Because this session is not about governing. It’s about politicking. And the Legislature’s game plan was written a long, long time ago.

The People have abdicated our duties,” so wrote the Roman satirical poet Juvenal, “everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”

Yes Florida. It’s time to send in the clowns.

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