Political Corruption: Florida Style
The state of Florida is usually viewed by potential visitors as an oasis of sun, fun, amusement and excitement. Snow birds from the north, sun seekers from Europe, and big spenders from the Middle East, Japan and Brazil tell long tales of the affordability and the great deals found in Orlando and throughout the state. Indeed, Disney World and Universal have helped to make the peninsula one of the leading destinations of the world. But, there is a quiet parasite that negates the life of millions of people who call Florida home—it is political corruption.
The blatant disregard towards political fairness and truth has caused so much corruption that observers simply remark, “Its politics.” Well, looking at the legacy and leadership of such past American leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln who followed a code of ethics that politics was simply a system or process that elected honest people to represent the greater needs of the people. Thus, the term a democratic state is symbolic to the ideas of the aforementioned Americans is stressed in civic classes throughout the nation that “we are a government by people, and for the people.” Sadly, our political leaders, elected and appointed, missed that lesson; they probably were on the playground bullying some fair minded kid. Thus, today’s leaders and the institutions that support them follow a mandate that calls for a government that is led by the powerful, wealthy and privileged for the powerful, wealthy and privileged. Again, they fail to realize that the formation of our government’s political thought was created as a mechanism for the progressive growth of society; not the growth of selected classes.
Now, where do we start? Recently, the media reported that Senator Marco Rubio accepted illegal campaign contributions that totaled over $210,000. The governing board for campaigns and elections, the Federal Elections Commission fined him $8,000. Now, Rubio—the potential running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who already has a multi-million dollar campaign war chest was reported by the news to be upset with the fine. Now, let’s take a look at my candidacy for city commissioner in Orlando. The Florida Elections Commission fined me $4,000 for accepting four $100.00 cash donations from my father, mother, sister and associate. I pleaded that it was a simple mistake and family members and friends often pass money to each other. The political unfair FEC fine, even by the standards of the Orlando Sentinel was excessive. The point, the Rubio fine was merely a tease and slap on the hand to create an image of fairness to all candidates; while, my fine was a statement to underclass candidates who challenge the traditional voice of power. That is, challengers to the traditional structure will be economically silenced and possibly destroyed if they dare confront the power elites.
Another issue and hypocritical political activity is Governor Scott’s task force on reviewing the “Stand Your Ground” law. The group is heavily weighted with supporters of the law. For instance, task force head—Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll voted for the law while she was in the state’s assembly and is a life member of the National Rifles Association; Rep. Dennis Baxley, Republican, of Ocala sponsored the bill in the House; and our own Senator Gary Siplin, Democrat, so-called spokesperson of Black Orlando voted for the measure. Siplin is perhaps the greatest of the hypocrites. He votes for a bill that is used primarily against Blacks, Latino and poor white males; a measure that caused Trayvon Martin his life. If he understood the historical nature of race, class and politics he would never have voted for it. But, Siplin is all about rubbing elbows with the power elite while playing the race card that he is a supporter of the downtrodden and oppressed. Case in point—the “pull up your pants” bill that he made into law. That is, youngsters who wear baggy pants in school could be charged with a crime. Well, the senator illustrates again that he does not know anything about the historical targeting and profiling of Black and Latino boys in our society. What’s next Senator? Fining women for showing too much cleavage? To make matters worse Siplin recently held a town hall meeting on “race” and the “Stand Your Ground Law” in Sanford, illustrating the evil paradox of our leaders—he flip flops, supporting the law for one group and denouncing it to another population.
Oh boy, I am just getting started. Now, let’s take a stab at Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer and the lackluster City Commission and gentrification in Black Orlando. On second thought, let’s wait a few ticks. Dyer, Daisy Lynum and the crew deserve a separate essay.
The Truth Teller—Dr. Vibert White