But Politics Puts the Governor in the “Alternative Facts” Atmosphere
Christina Pushaw, the communications expert brought in to give the DeSantis Administration national chops, answered my question directly in an August email. This is what she wrote:
From: Pushaw, Christina <Christina.Pushaw@eog.myflorida.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 6:15 PM
Subject: RE: Interview at Daily Kos Community, OpEd News
To: Steve Schneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thanks. Yes, I can confirm, the position of the DeSantis Administration is that the 3 approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Governor DeSantis has always encouraged people to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, and Florida’s vaccination rate is better than the national average.
But wait. My governor and state surgeon general now appear to be dancing around the issue. DeSantis keeps refusing to say whether he has gotten a Covid booster shot. He also throws out lines that feed the fears of people who don’t want to get vaccinated. DeSantis even recently raised the possibility that Covid vaccines may harm women who want to get pregnant.
And Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a Harvard graduate like DeSantis, couldn’t give a straight answer to a simple question when he appeared before a state Senate committee this week. According to Newsweek:
DeSantis confirmed last year that he received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine but has not publicly said whether he’s been boosted as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues nationwide. This week, his surgeon general in Florida, Joseph Ladapo, declined to give a simple yes or no answer over whether the vaccines work.
For context, Pushaw sent me confirmation that Covid vaccines work after I told her about a self-described “liberal” and “progressive” publication, OpEd News. I publish many articles there. I’ve also come in contact with OEN people who I view as being intelligent, sincere, and thoughtful. These writers argue a variety of points, including some or all of the following: Masks don’t work. The vaccines are killing us, or harming us. Or they may be killing us, or harming us. We won’t know for a number of years, though, because the vaccines are new, and therefore no long-term studies exist on their safety and effectiveness. Therefore, why pressure Americans and people around the world to take an “experimental” big pharma concoction?
These assertions sometimes lead to another charge, namely, that our government is acting tyrannically by imposing vaccine and mask mandates, among other insults to our freedom. So, I told Pushaw, “I’d like to run some of the assertions by an expert who I find credible, just as an act of due diligence. I’m not a science guy.”
I never heard from the state Department of Health. But Pushaw, in August, felt secure enough to tell me that “Yes, I can confirm, the position of the DeSantis Administration is that the 3 approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.”
Her boss won’t say this because he is an ambitious politician who thinks he can become president by giving his supporters what he thinks they want to hear.
And that is o.k. by politically correct standards of political foreplay in the United States. We don’t expect our politicians to give us direct answers, to always deal honestly with us, or to keep their word. But Covid is different. We are talking about life and death. Words DeSantis speaks or withholds have consequences. So far, more than 64,000 souls have died from Covid in the Sunshine State.
And our medical professionals and hospital staffs constantly suffer from stress when the latest Covid surge beats the heck out of free will. This happens when unvaccinated Floridians are forced to seek the treatment they never thought they would need. Flooding care facilities also spread the potentially deadly virus, keep alive the possibility that it will mutate and form more destructive variants, and take away space from other deserving souls who are suffering from maladies not called Covid. Of course, people who get seriously ill from Covid because they won’t get vaccinated drive up healthcare costs, which affect all of us. Contrast all these consequences with the approximately $20 per dose cost of the Covid vaccines, which the federal and state governments provide for free to people.
So what if DeSantis wants to play games to become president? I’ll tell you what. People continue to get gravely ill and die, that’s what.
This piece initially ran at Substack newsletter. Visit here.