Time to Foster Change

How did it come to this?

Everyday I read the news, and everyday I think “how did it come to this?” Globally, nationally, locally, it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same story. We got downright liars serving in Congress, fist fights and childish behavior playing out in both houses, classified documents being treated as if they were homework assignments, out of control gun violence, racial and social injustice ever so present, women’s productive rights being trounced upon, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Individuals with political power continue to do whatever they want with little to no repercussions. And it will remain like this as long as the money PACs that support each and every one of these candidates are content with the results these representatives provide them. It’s a never-ending sad play we are all forced to watch. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the state of Florida.

The actions and words of Florida’s current governor are unquestionably worrisome. His intolerance and aversion for anything or anyone that doesn’t coincide with his political agenda is beyond disturbing. While I find most of his actions controversial, his most recent antic, the hostile takeover of a liberal arts college in Sarasota, was something that hit very close to home.

The governor recently removed the current board of directors from this small college and replaced them with hand-picked conservative members. His decision to do this obviously concerns his fear of a woke institution. But what the governor may or may not have known in his quest to extinguish this forward-thinking college where half of the students identify as non-heterosexual, was that it was also a haven for students who needed a different type of educational environment that fit well with their unique learning capabilities.

This tiny, but progressive college, with only 675 students in attendance, was the only one in the state that would have been a good fit for someone like my son who has dealt with learning disabilities all his life. This college has worked directly with many of the specialized local schools in the area that provide learning instruction to children with autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. These particular kids would find it very challenging to thrive at state schools such as UF, FSU, UCF and the like. This college is or should I now say was, the only opportunity many of these kids had.

Does any of this matter? Of course it doesn’t. This is yet another prime example of why this country’s people now live in a reality where blind ambition and policy agendas have become more important than the people themselves. So, we the citizens of this state have no other recourse than to witness yet another political bully turn a hopeful solution for so many into one more politically motivated objective.

Abraham Lincoln once said, Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people. He also added that it shall not perish from this earth. Well, Mr. Lincoln, I’m sure you would be shedding many tears if you were alive today. Democracy may not be completely buried, but it’s definitely hanging on for dear life. I’m afraid we have reached a point where the good of the people has taken a subordinate role to the political opinions and preferences of those with the financial backing to propel themselves into an elected office.

We have gotten ourselves caught up within a political system that has indeed lost itself. Instead of a government by the people, for the people it’s turned into a government where most of us just hope for the best with the least amount of damage done within an election term. My hope at the moment is that Mr. DeSantis finds somewhere else to go (besides politics) before my son reaches college age.

I find the takeover of New College of Florida absolutely heartbreaking on so many levels. I feel for the current students in attendance and the ones recently enrolled. They chose that specific  college believing their school experience would be one thing only to be blindsided by an individual misappropriating his political power. I feel for the kids and parents who had this school on their radar just like we did. An aspiration for their child to work toward. I also find it all very sad because this takeover was completely unnecessary. Unrestrained ambition that has caused needless disruption and uncertainty to so many young lives.

There is a very particular reason that this college held such a great importance to us and its existence so vital for my son. In most states, not just Florida, certain benefits are given to children adopted out of the foster care system. One of those benefits in Florida is a free college education at a public state school. This college was the one bright spot for us. A realistic, obtainable goal for my son to reach. That has now been taken away because of one man’s political stance.

Is there hope of finding another school such as this? Possibly, but that would most likely require moving out of state. And should that occur, the free tuition that was promised would be no longer. My child was adopted in the state of Florida. So the adoption subsidies and assistance he receives are Florida specific. Adoption benefits vary from state to state. While some benefits offered by the assistance state may transfer, some may not. These benefits, in essence, tie a family to state child services, and therefore, the state itself for some period of time.  So, it’s not all that easy to pick up and move to another state if you want to continue receiving the assistance your child was not only promised, but undoubtedly deserves.

When are we going to say enough is enough and regain the kind of democracy that was initially intended for all of us. Political power and agendas are not democracy. They are the ambitions of a select few.  And the consequences from these insatiable appetites for power and personal visions of what America should look like subsequently affect a lot of innocent people just trying to obtain a brighter future. So, again I ask the question, “How did it come to this?” But, I guess the more telling question should be, “When will this imbalanced nonsense end?”