Ava Caudle ‘25
Senator Rick Scott’s new pet project is his 12-Point “Rescue America” Plan, designed to promote twelve steps or core values labeled as integral to an improved nation from a Republican point of view, from education reform to reducing government programs. In this case, “improved nation” is code for a reversion to traditional structures and values. While others could explain far more articulately the detrimental nature of some of its technical tenets, the ideological overtones are equally important to describing the pitfalls of this plan. Just two of the troubling key themes of the “Rescue America” plan include the glorification of Judeo-Christian values and the hypocrisy of claiming to fight the political elite.
Objectivity takes a backseat as Scott’s 12-Point Plan brings religious bias to the forefront of its argumentation. Point 8 revolves entirely around preserving the nuclear family, describing this system as “God’s design” for humankind. The section further declares the goal to “defend the American family from societal elements that erode it,” an intentionally vague statement that complements the constant references to the traditional family and hints towards the degradation of modern or non-heterosexual family structures. Just two lines after claiming to believe in science as it relates to gender in Point 9, Scott quotes the Book of Genesis: “male and female He created them.” Even in a section that relies on spreading information deemed “factual” by Scott and his party, a reference to the Bible needs to be included (even if it undercuts his entire argument). In these examples and throughout his proposal document, Scott holds traditional Western religion on a pedestal without considering the long-held separation of church and state detailed in some of our country’s seminal documents. He claims to love America for all it represents… so where is his embrace of secularity? Not all Americans ascribe to Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, and some claim no religion at all… these groups should be included rather than alienated as the public reimagines what it seeks from the United States.
It takes a special form of cognitive dissonance to purport defiance against DC’s elites while enjoying the status of a DC elite. Scott references the “Washington ruling class” in his proposal as if they are his enemies when they are, in fact, his peers. Like many right-wing politicians on the state and national levels, he uses the salt-of-the-earth, red-blooded Republican trope when it conveniences himself and his voter demographics without needing to face the plights of the working-class folks he claims to represent. For a politician who was quick to burden lower-income and working-class households just months ago with a proposed minimum income tax, his plan’s renewed sentiment of minimal taxation and advocacy for hard work simply reads as a cheap ploy for power. Many voters are quick to forget that Scott is the very type of career politician he jeers, whose lifestyle is far removed from his constituents and deaf to the authentic voices of those who are most impacted by his policies.
As a Floridian, I cannot help but notice the parallels between Scott’s nationwide proposals and FL Governor Ron DeSantis’ appeals to tradition in legislation across the state. This trend, while not new, represents the lasting fingerprints of the Trump Administration on the American population. With rhetoric of convention increasing as a result of Trump’s endurance, politicians like Scott are benefitted by the institutions they deign… and emboldened in their rigidity.