No Republican governor has been more vocal in his opposition to what he describes as “socialism” than Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. In 2013 he claimed that a federal bailout for the New York region after Hurricane Sandy was an irresponsible boondoggle. “I sympathize with the victims,” he said. But his answer was no. As his state confronts the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian, the fiercely anti-socialist DeSantis is asking the Biden administration for the help Floridians need — asking for social insurance. The administration has already put 1,300 federal response workers on the ground. It has pre-staged 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane, and has readied 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water. And it has moved in generators and has 300 ambulances in the state working alongside local officials.
Yesterday morning, DeSantis and Biden discussed further steps, including the issuance of a major disaster declaration that will provide Floridians with federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. Residents of nine counties will also be eligible for individual assistance.
“We all need to work together, regardless of party lines,” DeSantis told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Wednesday night. “When people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”
The stance against “socialism” has been the Republican Party’s harangue for a century.
Long before Trump hijacked the GOP for his pathological narcissism, it stood for you’re-on-your-own social Darwinism — and steadfastly against all forms of social insurance, which it termed “socialism.”
Socialism is what they called public power … Social Security … bank deposit insurance … free and independent labor organizations … anything that helps all the people. When the Republican candidate inscribes the slogan ‘down with socialism,’ what he really means is ‘down with progress.’
As a practical matter, what is the alternative to social insurance against hardship? It’s a survival-of-the-fittest society in which only the richest and most powerful endure.
Social insurance is what government is for — pooling our resources for the common good. In contrast to the Republican’s your-on-your-own social Darwinism, the Democrat’s social insurance recognizes we’re in it together.
It is easy and un-extraordinary to be frightened of life. Grief and loss may be the most fearsome creatures that exist. They teach us to worry about the future, to question the longevity of contentment, and make us unable to truly enjoy happiness when we have it. But loss should not be a fearsome creature, but rather a creature of wisdom. Loss should teach us not to fear tomorrow, but to live fully in the present. Loss should teach us to cherish those we love, to never do anything that will result in regret, and to welcome tomorrow with its promise of greatness. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn the important lessons. Sometimes strength and courage are not in the big things. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is enjoy what we have and be positive about what makes us lucky. The daily exercise of strength and courage is to arm yourself with the good stuff despite all the bad and step into tomorrow as an everyday warrior.