Dear Governor Ron DeSantis,
Over 20,000 Floridians have lost their lives to COVID-19 due to your willful neglect. For 10 months, you have ignored the facts of science and continued to downplay the dangers of COVID-19.
Your abandonment of constituents demonstrates that you simply do not care for the lives that you govern. According to The New York Times, Florida has over 1.4 million reported COVID-19 cases and 21,672 deaths. Parents, children, students, teachers, people of all ages, races and ethnicities have died. They are dead under your watch and your supervision.
A primary example of your destructive ineptitude includes the signing of Executive Order Number 20-244 on Sept. 25. This order allowed restaurants and bars to open fully and disbanded all previous social distancing restrictions and protocols in place. This serves as just one example of your valuing money and profit over a human life. As a college student at the University of Central Florida, I have seen your irresponsibility and lack of regard for Floridians’ health firsthand.
As soon as you passed this rushed and ignorant order, local bars in the UCF area opened up without social distancing or mask mandates. Now, what do you expect a bunch of socially starved college students who have been stuck at home in quarantine for four months to do? Of course, they went out to the bars, wrongly trusting their governor to protect them. By refusing to pass mandates such as making masks mandatory throughout the state, you have directly put lives at risk.
Students’ largest mistake wasn’t going out to those bars; it was trusting that you had their best interest in mind. As a result of this, UCF and other Florida universities witnessed a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases. These are young adults with their entire lives ahead of them. We do not know the long-term effects of this virus. By enacting this order, you potentially shortened lives and allowed young Floridians to get sick and spread the virus to vulnerable populations.
The continuation of forcing schools to remain open in a face-to-face format with the threat of losing state funding on which they rely to function directly reveals that you value a measly dollar before the life of any Floridian. You claim to want children to learn in the best environment for their education, but your constituents see through that lie. You do not want children to learn in the best environment for their education; rather, you do not want to pay for online learning programs to allow students to safely learn from home.
You do not want to pay leave for those parents who have to stay home and help their students navigate online learning because that would mean giving aid to Floridians who cannot resume working as usual due to these unprecedented circumstances. You clearly cannot do that as you have shown that you are not capable of empathy or even faking this if it does not earn you a pretty penny in return.
The virus remains real and deadly whether you chose to take it seriously or not. As you continue to hide away, ignoring any and all legislative measures made by other Florida congress members to help constituents and aid them in this ongoing pandemic, Floridians continue to suffer with increased unemployment, homelessness and a lethal virus ravaging the nation. Innocent people die every day that you continue not to act. They die in vain for the sake of money and your personal gain.
The role of a governor remains to protect and fight for their constituents’ best interest and well-being. You have done the complete opposite of that within your two years of service. Know that we will remember this in 2022 when it comes time for your reelection campaign.
Featured image: Ron DeSantis speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference. Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/3aXHVyC)
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