Why Can’t We Have a Governor Like DeSantis?

by Kerry Dougherty

Help me out here. I’m trying to decide which of the seven deadly sins I’m committing every time I see Gov. Ron DeSantis on TV or in print and wish he were governor of Virginia.

It is covetousness? Or envy?

Well, dictionary.com defines the first as “eager or excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.”

So I guess it’s envy I’m experiencing. Mea culpa.

I can’t help it. It started last summer when DeSantis announced that Florida kids could play youth sports. Yep, even contact sports.

It was May 22, 2020 when The Tampa Bay Times reported this shocking news:

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he was ending all restrictions on youth activities across the state, including camps and youth sports. The declaration was the governor’s latest move to wake Florida from its coronavirus-induced economic slumber.

The science was clear a full year ago that children were at very little risk of contracting or spreading the virus. DeSantis was one of the first governors to boldly act on that data. He said kids needed to exercise and get fresh air. He added that if parents weren’t comfortable with that, they should keep their kids home. In other words, he treated citizens as adults. A novel idea.

In doing so, of course, he took a risk. Had there been large outbreaks of COVID-19 at Florida’s summer camps, DeSantis would have been blamed.

Meanwhile, here in Virginia in May of 2020 we were still begging the governor to open our beaches. When he finally did, Ralph Northam forbade beachgoers from tossing footballs or playing volleyball on the sand, lest they touch a contaminated orb.

So sciency!

At this same time a friend of mine got a COVID test in the parking lot of a Virginia Beach urgent care center. When he asked for a moment to recover from having his first nostril nearly punctured, the nurse doing the testing told him they had to hurry and do the other one, because the virus died after just seconds in the sun.

Seems our doctor/governor hadn’t gotten that memo.

Shoot, to keep Northam happy, Virginia Beach wasted money all summer, paying “ambassadors” to wipe down handrails on the Boardwalk, as if the virus could survive our tropical temperatures and blazing sun.

Like so much that has happened in Virginia over the past 16 months, outdoor handrail disinfecting defied common sense and fell into the category of pandemic theater.

While Ralph Northam and other blue state governors were in a contest to implement ridiculous rules — curfews and alcohol bans, for example — that did nothing to slow the spread of the virus, DeSantis tried to err on the side of fewer restrictions, while protecting seniors in his state.

And this week, while politicians are kissing up to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week — even though many belong to unions that fought to keep schools shuttered — DeSantis took a different path.

Yesterday he announced pandemic bonuses for people who were actually on the job for the past year and couldn’t work via Zoom.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will soon sign a budget that will include $1,000 bonuses for all police officers, firefighters and first responders in the state, reported NBC.

DeSantis discussed the bonuses during a news conference Wednesday at the Satellite Beach Police Department.

The Republican governor said the bonuses were done in part to honor the work first responders have done during the coronavirus pandemic.

“They were out there, every single day, our police, our fire, our EMTs, and they had to work more than they ever have,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis has great instincts. And this is why he’s being touted as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2024. He has that populist streak that Trump had, without the pettiness that turned off so many voters.

In fact, his pragmatism and his determination to treat Floridians as adults who can make smart decisions to protect themselves is providing those of us stuck in blue states with something else: An occasion of sin.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.