The Post-Pandora Solution

As a gift, Zeus gave her a box, which she was told never to open. However, as soon as he was out of sight she took off the lid, and out swarmed all the troubles of the world, never to be recaptured. Only Hope was left in the box, stuck under the lid.

Quick, what’s the difference between red tide and Covid-19?

Well, the obvious answer is that red tide is killing tons of fish in Florida waters, while C-19 has been killing tons of Floridians.

But the answer I’m going for here is that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approach to both red tide and Covid-19 has been a case study in what you might call the Post-Pandora Solution.

Red tides (and fresh water algae infestations) have steadily grown more common and more toxic. And it’s not difficult to make the connection between all the nutrient-laden garbage (pesticides, fertilizers, phosphates, industrial wastes, septic tanks leakages, urban storm-water runoff etc. ) we Floridians keep spewing into the water and the worsening water conditions.

The obvious solution is to stop dumping so much bad stuff into the water. But that would require stricter water pollution regulations and enforcement. And if there an article of faith embraced by Florida politicians over the last quarter century is that regulations are bad for profits and jobs (theirs included).

Hence Gov. Ron’s Post-Pandora solution.

To prove his “green” bonafides, DeSantis got the Legislature to put $18 million (over six years) into the Florida Red Tide Mitigation And Technology Development Initiative.

Basically he wants scientists to find something – clay, copper sulfates (heck, why not chlorine? It works in swimming pools) – that we can dump into the ocean to kill the red tide.

The beauty of mitigation is that if scientists can pull it off – if they can find a magic after-the-fact solution to pollution – we Floridians can just go merrily on dumping toxics into the water with nary a care about consequences.

Gov. Ron likes the Post-Pandora Solution so much that he’s carried it over into his Covid policies.

We know that the best way to combat Covid is prevention – masks and vaccines and social distancing and so on. But DeSantis won’t abide infringements on our personal freedoms to infect others. He’s a fanatic when it comes to prohibiting masking mandates and he isn’t exactly Florida’s spokesman for vaccinations.

Ah, but DeSantis has a solution, and the beauty of it is that there’s no need to slam Pandora’s box shut. Leave it wide open.

Forget prevention, mitigation’s all the rage.

If you do get Covid, why just run out and get some of that monoclonal antibody therapy and everything will be hunky dory.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of the Guv’s top donors has a major investment in Regeneron, which profits mightily from such treatment. That’s just politics as usual.

The important thing is that treating Covid after he’s already gotten it allows Florida Man to continue to live in blessed freedom. And if FM happens to sicken others along the way, well that’s no never-mind to him.

So does it work? Well, the FDA has authorized it, but also cautions that “Monoclonal antibodies….may be associated with worse clinical outcomes when administered to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation.”

So just don’t want to wait too long after those first chills or sniffles to take the cure. You don’t want to end up like that Florida woman splayed out on the floor of one of Gov. Ron’s in-and-out therapy treatment centers.

Anyway, efficacy isn’t really the point, not when it comes to either red tide or Covid.

The point in both cases is that we ought to feel free to leave Pandora’s Box full ajar with never a worry about the environmental or public health consequences of our negligence.

Because, GOP-forbid, if something bad does happen, well there’s gotta be a chemical or a pill or a supplement or maybe just enhanced thoughts and a prayer to set things right.

Pandora must be burning with envy.

1 Comment

  1. This is very interesting – I never thought of “mitigation” quite this way (as a form of responsibility shirking).

    I particularly loved the “GOP-Forbid” play on words.

    Thanks for sharing your talent for writing with us.

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