Tread on us, please. Florida needs a new socialism-friendly slogan after Hurricane Ian

Dear America:

Please tread on Florida.

I know. I know. This isn’t the message you’ve been hearing from us on the $25 T-shirts for sale on the Gov. Ron DeSantis re-election site.

But we here in Florida are temporarily suspending all criticisms of federal handouts and any other form of socialism. And as for those “Don’t Tread on Florida” T-shirts, ball caps and flags, we’re not in a go-it-alone mood anymore.

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Maybe we could just unload that outdated-messaged merchandise as rags for the relief workers from other states who will come here to help us in our time of need.

You see, Hurricane Ian has temporarily washed away our bootstraps with the storm surge. And now we can’t pull them up on our own.

So, what we really need right now is to rejoin the United States of America so we can rely on the all-for-one ethos of this country, an ethos we’ve suddenly become fond of.

We’re through posturing ourselves as a breakaway state operating in defiance of the federal government.

Sure, we’ve acted that way a lot recently, refusing to participate in national health care expansions, and being the only state to refuse submitting a plan for using federal relief dollars for schools, and pre-ordering COVID-19 vaccinations for children.

Freedom, shmeedom. We’ve suddenly outgrown that pablum for the feeble-minded. Please send FEMA.

New appreciation for quick federal aid

We realize that some people may point out that our beloved governor, when he was a Tea Party member of Congress, was one of just 67 U.S. House members who voted against allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay out claims to the New York and New Jersey residents who held federal flood insurance policies during SuperStorm Sandy.

"I sympathize with the victims of Hurricane Sandy and believe that those who purchased flood insurance should have their claims paid," DeSantis had said. "At the same time, allowing the program to increase its debt by another $9.7 billion with no plan to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere is not fiscally responsible."

I can assure you, Gov. DeSantis is not talking about fiscal responsibility taking precedence to federal payouts to Florida flood victims after Hurricane Ian.

In fact, while the storm was coming ashore this week, DeSantis was already asking President Joe Biden to order FEMA to write a blank check to Florida by providing 100 percent federal cost sharing for debris removal and emergency protective measures in the state for the next 60 days, with a 90 percent federal cost sharing burden after that initial period.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a frequent visitor at the state's Emergency Operations Center in advance of Hurricane Ian
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a frequent visitor at the state's Emergency Operations Center in advance of Hurricane Ian

DeSantis’ request says the federal relief should come automatically without any prior analysis of need, damage assessments or potential fraud.

“The risk that a lightly impacted county would receive unnecessary Federal assistance is minimal, at best,” DeSantis wrote. “Given these considerations, damage assessments would be a clear waste of resources during a time of critical need.”

See how much we’ve grown up?

No more Biden nicknames?

President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden.

And while we’re apologizing, we’re really sorry about our governor’s recent habit of calling President Biden names, such as “President Brandon” or “The American Nero.”

If DeSantis only knew that Biden’s immediate response to the Florida-bound storm would be magnanimous — “We’ll be there every step of the way,” Biden said — our governor may have been less petty and juvenile in his Fox News performances.

Oh, and Massachusetts, thanks for sending us whatever you can in storm relief.

I know, we’ve recently sent you some desperate asylum seekers from Venezuela, unceremoniously dropping them on Martha's Vineyard. Looking back on it, we behaved like a bunch of delinquents playing a game of ding-dong-dash but with people’s lives.

That’s not us anymore. Not since Hurricane Ian.

Now we have newfound appreciation for displaced people in need of help. And we don’t think it’s funny anymore to abuse them. So, we appreciate anything you can give us.

Hey, and while you’re at it, you can start by sending back those migrants we gave you.

We’re going to need a lot of workers to clean up the storm rubble. And the snowbirds surely aren’t going to do it. When the going gets tough, they’ll just stay up north this winter and start looking at real estate in western North Carolina.

So, please give us back those migrants. There were a lot of able-bodied workers in that bunch. And we need lots of people with good backs and strong arms now.

In fact, we can use all the Central American labor — documented or undocumented — the rest of America can spare. And we promise, as long as they’re here, working and putting our state back together again, we will not to cast them as evil drug mules, pedophiles and terrorists.

We’ll just find some other marginalized group to pick on.

Tread on us, please

What I’m trying to say is that this hurricane has really made us reconsider our empty bravado and culture-war foolishness. This storm will create millions of displaced Floridians, as it delivers a knock-out blow to the already teetering property-insurance market in the state.

Or to put it another way: We’re too “soak” to keep flogging “woke.”

So, please, come tread on us with your federal aid, with your utility trucks from distant states, and your emotional support.

And we’ll come up with a more appropriate motto for those T-shirts.

Frank Cerabino is a columnist at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at fcerabino@gannett.com. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Ian: DeSantis seeks help from Biden, no more 'Don't Tread on Florida'