Column: This Crisis is No Joke 

Empty beaches in Fort Lauderdale. Photo via the City of Fort Lauderdale, Facebook

Imagine waking up on Wednesday, April 1, to news headlines proclaiming COVID-19 to be a worldwide April’s Fool’s joke, a hoax of mass proportions. 

Unfortunately, what is taking place here in our Island City and throughout the world is no joke. The numbers of infected continue to increase, reaching too close for comfort as local death counts continue to rise. The weeks ahead will be an even greater challenge for many of us here in South Florida as the pandemic plays out its lethal curve. 

Thinking about April Fools Day, my thoughts turn to Senator Rick Scott. Many Floridians, happy to be rid of Rick Scott as our Governor,  found it easy to forget that he currently serves as our junior Senator. 

Unfortunately the past few weeks have placed Senator Scott back in the spotlight. In a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Senator released a statement calling on the federal government to begin checking the temperature of each and every individual before they board mass transit. 

Great Scott!

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Are you insane or just a fool?  In the richest country in the world, without enough ventilators or much needed medical supplies, how the heck are you going to check the temperature of every person using mass transit?

Does the Senator even have a clue how mass transit systems operate in cities throughout our nation? This is the same person who turned down billions of dollars of federal money to build a high-speed rail network throughout the state of Florida when he served as Governor, so perhaps such crazy behavior should come as no surprise. 

Then the crowning April Fools joke of all. 

Senator Scott proclaimed that the interest of working families here in Florida is his main priority after the Senate voted on the $2 trillion relief package this week. The press release failed to state that he was one of four Senators who tried to lampoon the whole deal over the unemployment compensation to those same working families. The hypocrisy that one of the wealthiest members of the Senate would look to deny needed assistance to working families at such a time is just deplorable.  A working-class hero is not what I see when looking at our esteemed Senator. 

What is really deplorable is that Ricky had no problem taking billions of federal dollars when he made his fortune as CEO of a major hospital conglomerate, Columbia/HCA.  This company was fined billions for having defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs. Pardon the pun, but Rick got off “Scott” free. 

Talk about a cruel April Fools joke. 

Leaving my political venting aside for now, I turn my gaze toward the brighter side of the street here in our wonderful Island City. Some things in life are worth waiting for, as proven by the wonderful artwork that surprised many Islanders this past week, popping up on six utility boxes throughout our city. The initial phase identified six utility boxes, two in each of the three neighborhoods of our city, each highlighting local fauna and flora. The owls by Rachael Richardson Park and the foxes at Richardson Park are my two favorites, with the flowering Jamaican Caper tree and the others equally spectacular. After a long and tedious process, this is a job well done! Thank you, Meagan and Todd, along with the Island City Art AdvisoryCommitteefor the enormous amount of work required to make this initial stage a reality. Hopefully moving ahead, additional installations will be a bit easier. 

There is talk of the second phase, with the Wilton Manors Historical Society working with the arts committee on the selection of historical artwork. In this case, more is better.

Seeing the artwork installed last week was the perfect ray of sunshine I needed to get me through a rough week. In these troubled times we have much to be thankful for.  Keeping our eyes on what is good and wonderful here in our Island City is how we will make it through together. 

No one knows how the next few weeks will play out here in South Florida and throughout our nation. Uneasy and troubled about the unknown that lies ahead, I leave you with some lyrics to a song inspired from a scriptural passage, Sometimes youve got to walk by faith if you cant walk by sight. Even if you dont know where youre going, you hold on and keep moving, keep moving.” 

Even for those who are non-believers, have faith in your family, your neighbors, and this wonderful community we call the Island City, and soon these troubled times will clear away, and life will continue to be just better here. 

Be safe, hold on, and keep moving. 


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