Florida’s Idiocracy

Come and witness the wisdom of The People.
June 24, 2020
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Literally.

In the 2006 movie, Idiocracy, Mike Judge imagined “a dystopian world where commercialism has run rampant, mankind has embraced anti-intellectualism, and society is devoid of such traits as intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, justice, and human rights.”

Or maybe Judge was just predicting what would happen to Florida if a global pandemic ever hit.

On Wednesday, Palm Beach County held a public hearing. Its purpose: with the number of coronavirus cases spiking in Florida, the county commission wanted to hold a vote on mandating the use of masks in public (as Broward and Miami-Dade counties have). The vote came after a two-hour public hearing, during which angry opponents held up Trump signs, threatened the county board with citizens’ arrests, invoked the wrath of God, and held a festival of crazy.

Here’s a sample:

https://twitter.com/aravosis/status/1275854598146871296

One woman accused the county commissioners of wanting to “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door” by mandating masks. “You are all turning your backs on it.”

But this was the mild stuff.

“You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask, knowing that mask is killing people,” insisted one woman. “It literally is killing people.” Literally. (This is super important, if true.)

She followed up this disquisition with a threat:

We the people are waking up. And we know what citizen’s arrest is. Because citizen’s arrests are already happening, okay? And every single one of you who is obeying the devil’s law are going to be arrested. And you, doctor [here she is addressing the county’s health commissioner], are going to be arrested for crimes against humanity.

And not just arrested. The woman, who does not understand the meaning of “literally” but is an expert on international law, also dropped some theological bombs on on the board:

Every single one of you are going to get punished . . . by God.

You cannot—you cannot escape God. You cannot escape God. I’m a say that again: You cannot escape God. Not even with the mask or six feet.

The six feet, you see, is the tip-off for the real agenda at work here.

“Six feet, like I said before, is military protocol,” the lady insisted. “You are trying to get people to train them, so when the camera, the 5G comes out, what, they are going to scan everybody? We gotta get scanned, we gotta get temperatured? The kids are going to have to go school with masks?”

“Are you insane?” she asked. “Are you crazy? I think all of you ought to be a psych ward right the heck now.”

And irony wept.

She wasn’t finished, though. Next she chastised the commissioners for opening the meeting with a prayer:

“And then you want to open this meeting with a prayer to God. Are you praying to the devil because God is not listening to that prayer. Because all of you are practicing the devil’s law.”

And as surely as Laura Ingraham follows Sean Hannity, she then segued into the suburbs of Pizzagate:

What happened to Bill Gates? Why is he not in jail? Why is Hillary Clinton not in jail? Why are all of these pedophiles that are demanding you all to listen to their rules, why are they not in jail? Is it because you are part of them? Are you part of the deep state? The deep state is going down, and if any of you are in the deep state, you are going down with them.

You really have to watch the whole thing. It’s like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Snooki had a baby.

I know what you’re thinking: How does this woman not have her own show on OAN? Probably because there’s too much competition for her to stand out.

Another woman at the hearing questioned the credentials of the “experts” who had urged the ban. “I have many question marks about your degrees and what you really know,” she said. “I’m sorry, m’am, but I don’t think you are worthy of your credentials. And I would ask suggestively that you go back to schools and get educated.”

Afterward, some folks in the crowd attempted to follow through on the threats to seize the commissioners. Newsweek reports:

“They did rush the dais,” Commissioner Melissa McKinlay told CNN’s New Day. “We had to empty the chamber and we had to disinfect the chamber because nobody in our room was following the social distancing guidelines. They pounded on our secure door that’s at the back of our room there. They threatened citizen’s arrest.”

Several things to note here:

(1) These people vote.

(2) They have apparently consumed vast quantities of the toxic conspiracy theories that are out there.

(3) Their opposition to masks is shared by millions of their fellow Americans.

Funnily enough, at almost the exact moment this drama was playing out in Florida, the Washington Post was reporting that “more than 36,000 new infections were reported by state health departments—surpassing the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25. Texas, Florida and California led the way, with all three states reporting more than 5,000 new cases apiece.”

So yes, we are now officially post-parody. And yes, we are very definitely screwed.

Charles Sykes

Charlie Sykes is a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark and the author of How the Right Lost Its Mind. He is also the host of The Bulwark Podcast and an MSNBC contributor.