Florida governor Ron DeSantis holds degrees from Yale and Harvard law. That's supposed to signal intelligence and competence. It does not. DeSantis is vehemently opposed to any COVID 19 protocols. Florida school superintendent Carlee Simon writes in The Washington Post:
After months of harassing school districts, including mine, over our covid-19 protocols, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the Florida Legislature have just passed a new law that blocks schools from requiring masks for students and quarantines for students and staff who appear asymptomatic. The governor even called a special legislative session to get this and other bills targeting covid-19 measures passed — although he conveniently waited until the delta-driven covid surge of the late summer and early fall had subsided in the state.
Of course, the outcome of the session was never in any doubt. DeSantis and other state leaders vehemently opposed mask mandates and quarantine protocols even as positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths from covid skyrocketed in Florida during the first few weeks of school. They fought school districts that required them tooth and nail, even withholding our funding because we did what was necessary to protect students and staff during a public health crisis.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the governor insists that masks are ineffective and even harmful. To bolster his viewpoint, he fast-tracked the appointment of Joseph Ladapo — an anti-vaccine, anti-mask, hydroxychloroquine-promoting doctor apparently focused on undermining rather than protecting public health — as the state’s surgeon general.
Their nonscientific and nonsensical agenda is now enshrined in Florida law. From here on out, school districts cannot require masks no matter what happens in the future.
There's a lot of that going around these days -- monumental stupidity in the face of overwhelming evidence:
Never mind that covid cases are rising in half of the states and that experts are warning of a potential winter spike. If another surge comes to Florida, schools will have been hamstrung by state leaders more concerned about appeasing their governor and his political base than promoting the health and well-being of their constituents.
How to explain it? Obviously, it has nothing to do with the standard measures of intelligence. But it has everything to do with the will to power. Some of us will do anything to grasp the brass ring. DeSantis is one such person.
Image: The New Yorker