PerspectivesRob Bradley Jacksonville Today Contributor
Gov. Ron DeSantis | AP

OPINION | Floridians want control of their life back

Published on November 17, 2021 at 9:19 pm
Jacksonville Today seeks to include a diverse set of perspectives that add context or unique insight to the news of the day. Regular opinion columnists are independent contractors who are not involved in news decisions. Want to submit your own column on a matter of public interest? Email pitches to

For over a year now, our lives have been completely upended, and it all seems terribly unfair.

Family and friends have gotten sick, and sometimes died, from a virus that didn’t exist in our country two years ago. We isolated our frail and elderly and dying from human contact at a time when they needed it most. The human cost of this pandemic has been enormous.

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Small businesses closed, and jobs were lost, because someone in government deemed they weren’t “essential.” Meanwhile, Home Depot and Walmart were never forced to close and have enjoyed a windfall from the whole “shutdown economy.”

Schools closed, then kind of opened, depending on where you live. Parents already struggling to both work and raise their children were suddenly forced to make impossible scheduling decisions. Many became homeschool parents overnight.

It’s no wonder Americans are tired and irritable.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Americans are not in the mood to be bossed around. And they certainly don’t want to get lectured by a bunch of wishy washy politicians who have done nothing to make any of this better.

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Enter Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

He’s not telling anyone what to do. If you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you don’t, don’t. If you want to go out to eat, go out to eat. If you want to keep sending your child to school, it’s open and ready to go. Your kid can wear a mask or not. It’s up to you.

For someone who doesn’t come across as warm and fuzzy, Ron DeSantis has always demonstrated a unique ability to understand the mood of his constituents. He knows that everyone is tired, irritable and done with it all.

They turn on the television and see stadiums packed with maskless fans. Then the news shows President Biden wearing a mask while talking to a bunch of reporters. The whole thing has the feel of performance art, not science.

So as Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature come out of this week’s special session to ban vaccine and mask mandates, it’s important to understand WHY they are acting.

It is because Ron DeSantis understands one simple fact: the vast majority of Floridians want control of their life back and they’ve tuned out any elected official who seeks to tell them otherwise.

author image Jacksonville Today Contributor Rob Bradley is an attorney and current chairman of the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District. Rob is managing partner of Bradley, Garrison & Komando, P.A., an Orange Park law firm. He represented the north Florida region in the Florida Senate from 2012-2020, serving as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations from 2017-2020, where he crafted three state budgets, each in excess of $90 billion.

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