Two Very Different Issues Have an Unfortunate Intersection
Florida voters forced to choose between the environment and the Second Amendment.
In any political race where Democrats and Republicans square off, voters will doubtless have to take the good with the bad regarding their vote, since it is extremely unlikely that either major party candidate shares a majority of voters’ views on every issue of import in the campaign.
Sometimes the stakes rise, and voters are faced with a woeful choice between two very important issues. The 2018 Florida gubernatorial race is such a time.
Red Tide; Dead Fish
The health of Florida’s environment is absolutely critical to the health of the Florida economy, as well as the quality of life for Floridians. Water quality and loss of habitat are two issues of paramount importance with respect to the health of the environment. Of those two issues, water quality has emerged as the most pressing in recent years. The ongoing environmental catastrophe that frequent algae blooms and the worsening red tides associated with those blooms is an issue well overdue for remedy. Unlike the slow-cook nature of global warming and the proposals to address it, algae blooms and intensified red tides are something that we humans have the ability to deal with quickly, effectively, and within reasonable cost parameters.
Unfortunately, a majority of Florida’s political actors in Tallahassee have given a healthy, vibrant environment red-headed stepchild status in relation to special (business) interests and the corresponding boost to campaign coffers.
The biggest contributors to the destruction of several Florida watersheds are farming and ranching. Most experts agree that Big Sugar and human interference in the natural flow of the watershed have caused a synergistic explosion of algae that threatens to only get worse.
A consensus exists for a general framework of a gradual restoration of health to the most afflicted areas.
The biggest problem with all of this is finding a Republican in Republican-saturated Tallahassee who will risk political fortune by going up against the big money players who are poisoning a substantial portion of Florida’s waterways, estuaries and shorelines.
Believe it or not, that brings us to the Second Amendment.
It’s as easy to find a Democrat who sincerely wants to defend the Second Amendment as it is to find a Republican who wants to take on Big Sugar.
Democrats All In: A Full-Court Press on Gun Rights
Because of recent, numerous, and widespread massacres across the country involving AR-15 rifles, including two of the worst, the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, quick-fixin’ Democrats have set their sights on what they see to be a politically expedient response that places the blame for gun violence squarely in the laps of folks who never benefited them much anyway. Along the way, they distort reality and ignore the public interest in much the same manner as the Republicans do in their approach to water quality.
Every single Democratic candidate for governor who pledges to clean up the water also pledges to clean up the Second Amendment. Promises common to all of them are to “take on the NRA” and enact “common sense” firearms regulations like banning AR-15 rifles and high-capacity magazines, and imposing a debilitating bullet tax on gun owners.
A Brief but Very Important Aside
Incidentally, the insistence by left wing politicians and their comrades in the mainstream press to refer to AR-15 rifles as “assault rifles” is an intentional misrepresentation that capitalizes on the coincidental match between the initials “AR” and the term assault rifle. The “AR” in AR-15 actually stands for Armalite Rifle, for the company that actually invented it. The actual U.S. army definition of an assault weapon is “a selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power.” Selective fire means a shooter can choose between single-shot, three-round burst, or fully automatic. AR-15 rifles available for purchase by the law-abiding general public are not selective-fire weapons. They are single-shot only.
Back to the Point
Converse to the Democratic candidates, virtually every Republican who promises to safeguard the Right to Keep and Bear Arms also has a dubious record when it comes to environmental issues. At this point, any Republican’s promises about cleaning up the South Florida watersheds have to be taken with a grain of salt. We’ve been listening to Republicans talk about cleaning up the Glades and its surrounding waters for decades now, and things have only gotten worse. Most of these guys have, over the years, taken sugar money, ranch money and other agriculture-related money for their campaigns in customary wink-wink Florida fashion.
Well, as it turns out, a whole lot of Floridians like a clean environment and the right to bear arms. For these folks, the near perfect dichotomy with respect to conversely antipodal Republican and Democratic positions regarding the environment and gun rights presents them with a very stark choice: They can support a clean environment and sacrifice their Second Amendment rights to the whims of others, or they can safeguard their right to bear arms and compromise their commitment to a clean environment.
One is left to wonder if any of the candidates have considered the fact that there are legions of gun-toting environmentalists who live in Florida, who look to the NRA to help them keep the gun grabbers at bay, and who vote?
Perhaps the candidates are each hoping that a sizable chunk of such voters will make a sacrifice that earns them a vote.
Alternatively, perhaps the candidates are all willing to throw those votes away.