On the heels of massive public demonstrations in Wisconsin and Ohio after Republican governors over-played their hands in seeking to destroy collective bargaining for public employees and make punitive cuts to education, Florida may be next in line. Tuesday, March 8 has been designated the day to “Awake The State“, with over thirty demonstrations planned across the state, spanning from Key West to Pensacola. There will even be multiple demonstrations in Tallahassee and Miami.
After Gov. Scott released his budget at a Tea Party event that proposed to cut a massive $3 billion from education, among other devastating measures, Floridians stood up and said “Enough.” The Awake The State rallies are the result of these built-up frustrations. Since the Awake The State facebook page launched just a few weeks ago, everyday Floridians have taken it upon themselves to organize rallies in their own communities.
What local organizers and participants are looking to accomplish is to make it very clear to our legislators as well as Gov. Scott that Floridian’s won’t tolerate more unnecessary budget cuts, whether it’s firing their local public school teachers or damaging the retirement security of our public servants.
I will pile on to the documentation of Scott’s bad behavior, noting that he may have a $62 million conflict of interest prompting his actions to protect pill mills that are responsible for the deaths of seven Floridians a day due to pain medication overdoses and his rejection of $2.4 billion in federal funding that would have provided 50,000 job-years (a job-year is the equivalent of one person employed for one year). For a state that still struggles with double-digit unemployment, that’s a lot of jobs to turn down.
On Tuesday, will Tea Party-panderer Rick Scott see the effects of his over-stepping to further enrich the ultra-rich at the expense of ordinary working Floridians? When the livelihoods of teachers, firefighters and police officers are threatened, people notice and respond. It happened in Wisconsin and Ohio and appears to be happening next in Florida.