“My job is to protect individual freedom, not corporate freedom” is a line that is going to ring in people’s heads long after it has been said. That’s the magic of Ron DeSantis. He has a way with words and can sum up the current moment that we are living in better than most.
It’s a different time that we are in, for sure. We still remember when Mitt Romney said that the corporations are people, too. That clip feels like an absolute relic at this point. Now, it is time to throw a nice little hypothetical at our readers. Let’s say that a Florida restaurant owner has decided that they want to make certain restrictions.
If one of these restaurant owners decides that they are going to limit their clientele to the vaccinated, this makes these folks more likely to eat there. They will feel like the owner is taking their safety into account. Meanwhile, a Florida resident who is not vaccinated is more likely to feel ostracized.
They are going to feel as if this is not fair. These are the people that DeSantis is speaking to here. He knows that these are the people who are most likely to vote for him in the next GOP primary. He’s a man who is into playing chess, not checkers.
If someone is willing to vote for DeSantis, then guess what? Their personal freedom is always going to come before yours. That’s just the reality that we presently live in and there’s no changing it at all.
“My job is to protect your individual freedom. My job is not to protect corporate freedom. We have a society in Florida where people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. And that’s what we’re doing by protecting against these mandates,” DeSantis said. He’s laying it all out very clearly here, make no mistake about it.
Anyone who does not see the self-serving aspect of this is fooling themselves. Yes, DeSantis can frame this as him looking out for the little guy. What about all of the small businesses that are going to be affected by this choice? Those are the little guys that DeSantis is trampling over in his efforts to make sure that he is appealing to individuals who do not want to get vaccinated.
If he really wanted to help, he would exempt the smaller businesses from this policy, allowing them to make their own decisions. In essence, he is telling business owners that they have no rights and that the rights of the vaccine-hesitant trump theirs. It’s an interesting bit of political calculus and he is gambling big time. 2024 is not that far away.
Business owners (and the vaccinated people who would like to dine safely) are sure to remember this. There is also a sizable amount of confusion on the matter, as Florida’s local media has taken great pains to report:
"My job is to protect your individual freedom. My job is not to protect corporate freedom. We have a society in Florida where people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. And that's what we're doing by protecting against these 💉mandates." @GovRonDeSantis pic.twitter.com/M9rTWHzdpD
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) September 8, 2021
“In Florida, there’s been confusion around this issue, partly due to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on so-called vaccine passports. However, legal experts tell us the ban applies to customers and patrons of businesses – not employees…
“Employers can require their employees in Florida to be vaccinated,” Meredith Gaunce, an employment attorney in St. Petersburg, explained.
Pursuant to guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, your boss can mandate vaccination and proof as long as two exemptions are provided: a medical and religious exemption.”
DeSantis can offer up all of this defiance in favor of the anti-vax crowd but we cannot wait to see what the response is from the business sector. There’s also a good chance that there was a conversation about keeping the employer vaccine mandates in place but allowing the nonvaccinated to frequent businesses anyway. It makes sense. Let the business owners make their revenue but there is no need to force the non vaccinated into their offices.