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Diane Roberts: Charm and grace again flow downhill from Capitol

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OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – Another Special Session! Why, it’s just like Christmas – minus the joy.

Minus the presents, too. While the members of the Florida Legislature rake in lobbyist largesse during committee weeks and every other hour that God sends, trawling for dollars during a Session is verboten.

This makes them surly.

Surlier. They aren’t exactly enjoying being forced to revisit redistricting for about the 400th time since the spring.

No one expects the Special Session, which is supposed to draw state Senate districts, to go well. The House despises the Senate which is, in turn, totally cheesed off at the House. Gov. 10-Watt is, of course, AWOL. He’s raising his own mega-bucks

Legislators fill the lonely hours they could be doing something useful by filing ridiculous bills. Sen. Jeremy Ring wants Florida students to be able to replace that annoying two years taking a foreign language with classes in computer coding.

The Margate Democrat is apparently taking the advice of a 15-year-old from Sunlake High who says Spanish class is boring.

Yeah, why would you want to learn Spanish in La Florida, a state becoming increasingly bilingual, with huge communities of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Venezuelan and other Latinos? Why would you want to actually expand your linguistic skills and understand the ways of another culture through its language?

Repite despuès de mí, Señor Senador: “Esa ley es estupida. Soy estúpido.”

Muy bien. Now shut up.

But Senator Ring and his silly bill pale in comparison with the most spectacular entry in Florida’s Chucklehead Derby.

Remember when Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina publicly fretted about the Republican Party’s demographic problem? He said, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Long term, he’s correct. Short term, there’s state Rep. Matthew Gaetz.

Master Matthew is running to succeed his daddy, former senate president Don Gaetz, soon to be term-limited out of his West Florida seat. You might not have realized that parts of Florida still operate on medieval principles of primogeniture.

Allow me to remind you of his exceptional charm and grace. In 2012, when Occupy Tallahassee protested Florida’s murderous “Stand Your Ground” law and protested on behalf of “Dreamers” on the opening day of the Legislative Session, Master Matthew held a metaphorical lace handkerchief to his begging-to-be-punched nose and tweeted, “With all the lovely flowers in the House Chamber, I can barely smell the occupy people outside.”

This year, when the House violated the Florida Constitution by adjourning three days early and some Democrats went to court, Master Matthew got deeply in touch with his inner White Citizens Council and implied that Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a civil rights movement heroine and lawyer since 1969, is incompetent, and Sen. Dwight Bullard, a teacher, is illiterate.

To paraphrase Dean Wormer: Bratty, mean and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Like he cares. Gaetz recently caused jaws to drop through the subflooring by informing us that toting a Glock is a right given by God himself. For lo, the Lord spake unto the people and said, “Thou shalt worship thy gun and also the righteous NRA.”

Just think how fun it will be when people with concealed carry permits (now more than 1 million of your fellow Floridians – feel good?) start waving an FNX .45 Tactical with three 15-round magazines and night sights at the mall or the ball game.

Master Matthew has plenty more ideas where that one came from: How about let’s replace property taxes with a much higher sales tax? I mean, these beleaguered property owners, especially the ones with expensive beachfront houses or thousands of acres, shouldn’t have to cough up for schools, roads, and other liberal frivolities.

Sales tax hits poor people the hardest, but that’s OK, because if they’re poor, it’s probably their fault.

To be fair, Master Matthew has also proposed a new “sin tax,” a surcharge of $10 for visiting strip clubs. He’d publish the names of customers, too, to teach them a sharp lesson. They ought to be in church, not watching near-naked ladies writhing around a pole.

Yet Gaetz took campaign donations from owners of strip clubs in Dade County. I guess that’s different.

Hypocrisy is, of course, an essential quality for an ambitious young Florida politico.

Diane Roberts’s new book is “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.” She teaches at Florida State University. 

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