Monday, January 03, 2022

Dear Leaders: May we suggest some ways you can shape up during 2022? Let’s make that alleged fresh start we’re always promising ourselves/ (FSU Prof. Diane Roberts, Florida Phoenix)

Beloved, acclaimed Florida State University English professor Diane Roberts is one of my favorite Florida satirists. 

Happy New Year, Prof. Roberts! 

From Florida Phoenix: 


Dear Leaders: May we suggest some ways you can shape up during 2022?

Let’s make that alleged fresh start we’re always promising ourselves

JANUARY 3, 2022 7:00 AM

 Florida’s Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. Credit: Michael Moline/Florida Phoenix

It’s been a year, people.

Weird stuff. Bad stuff. Some good stuff.

Now it’s time to turn the calendar to 2022 and make that alleged fresh start we’re always promising ourselves.

So as a public service to our busy, busy, busy political figures, I present here Roberts’ Recommendations for New Year’s Resolutions.

Read ’em and pray for Florida.

Ron DeSantis: Hey, governor! You could start by resolving to be less of an irascible jerk.

As the song from the epic film “Teen Beach 2” says, “Twist that frown upside down!”

Seriously, dude, you look like you eat unripe lemons for breakfast with a chaser of nitrate-laced Fanning Spring water.

While you’re at it, how about you pledge to actually read up on critical race theory? Sounds like you didn’t pay attention in law school.

If you need help with your homework, ask Eric Hall, the guy you chose to head the Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice.

Hall’s doctoral dissertation describes CRT as a “perspective which seeks to uncover practices which perpetuate racial inequality and have silenced social justice efforts for some of our nation’s most promising students.”

And what, you ask, should the Florida Cabinet’s 2022 resolutions be?

CFO, Fire Marshall, and Blue Ribbon Twit Jimmy Patronis might vow to cease making a fool of himself with his “Get Woke, Go Broke” campaign.

He recently appeared on Sean Spicer’s Newsmax show (Spicey’s back!) vowing the state will only invest in companies “not trying to change culture or re-engineer society.”

That’ll learn them communist capitalists!

Attorney General Ashley Moody might commit to pretending (at least) to care about the truth by not fighting DNA testing for Death Row inmates.

Or maybe the possibility of executing an innocent person doesn’t bother her.

And while agriculture commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried is trying to do good on the environment, phasing out styrofoam (that crap leaches pollutants into water and chokes animals) and insisting Florida address climate change, she took fossil fuel money two years ago and must vow she won’t do it again.

Florida’s two U.S. senators need to make serious resolutions for 2022.

Rick Scott? Stop lying, you absurd creature.

I realize it’s difficult for you, given your history of Medicare fraud and career-long mendacity, but claiming that school boards tell parents “your kid’s oppressed or your kid’s an oppressor” is just embarrassing.

Embarrassing for Florida, but mostly embarrassing for you.

Suggested reading: “The 1619 Project” is a good place to start.

Then there’s Marco Rubio. I think I speak for all Floridians when I inquire, “Do you actually do anything?”

Anything other than snipe at U.S. Rep. Val Demings, offer “thoughts and prayers” after the latest school shooting, and tweet random Bible verses, that is.

Resolve to get off your backside and go to work for the people of Florida.

The Florida Legislative session kicks on Jan. 11 and God knows the, er, distinguished members should make a few good New Year’s resolutions, too.

Randy Fine, R-Trumplandia, should promise that 2022 is the year he gets treatment for rabid Islamophobia.

Anthony Sabatini, R-House Basement, could start the new year with some etiquette lessons.

I’m guessing he models himself on Doug Niedermeyer in Animal House: You know, the gun-loving ROTC frat fascist killed by his own troops in Vietnam.

The ill-behaved Reps. Fine and Sabatini could resolve to be less douche-y (see Ron DeSantis above), but their colleague Alex Rizo ought to publicly promise to read the Constitution.

Rep. Rizo has filed a bill that would ban the public from “harassing” the police.

Yeah, somebody filming Broward cops pepper-spraying a black kid and slamming his head on the pavement, or punching a witness to Miami police brutality, is “harassing” those poor guys who have nothing but tasers and guns for protection.

As for Florida Democrats, what can I say? They’re as useful (as my granddaddy used to remark) as tits on boar.

Dems, how about you resolve to model yourselves on Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and her fierce organizing network?

Call her. She’s kind of busy running for governor, but she’d probably give you a few minutes.

Finally, what resolutions might Florida’s Chief Narcissist, fraudster, and fantasist make?

Donald Trump should stop claiming he won the 2020 election, but that would mean he’d got in touch with reality at last — and that ain’t happening.

So, let him resolve to run again in 2024 so that the sane people of America can beat him like a rented mule.


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Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.

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