Don’t count on it.
In politics, we find that nice guys of no substance too often finish first.
Last month we warned about the Bright Greenies. These are the extremists who rail against fishing and hunting even as they munch on animals they apparently think emerged from nowhere.
The Nice Guys, to us, are similar in their smiling hypocrisy.
Just when we most need straightforward, honest commitments, we get hugs and laughter and inane promises that at first blush seem just fine.
Recently, several of us lunched with a handsome young millionaire who found himself in high office. Full of friendliness (and another substance), he pledged to assign his staff to work closely with us and, it seemed, work for our goals.
“He’s a nice guy,” a friend murmered to me.
As we broke up, all smiles of course, I asked the pol if he would seek to reduce the government’s support of Big Sugar.
“Well,” he said after pausing. “I wouldn’t want to go up against all their money.”
AND THUS WE KNEW that the jillionaire sugar barons would keep their stranglehold on Florida, the subsidy giveaway being one of our more sacred traditions.
I immediately thought back four decades to our most powerful politician’s cozy ties to Big Sugar, enjoying a seat on the board of the biggest sugar company as well as a mega mansion in the Dominican.
Meantime nowadays, ordinary folks pay $2 billion extra for sugar at the supermarket to help prop up an unneeded and destructive industry that profits from a ridiculously low import limit set each year by the friendly U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Occasionally, a renegade limb of the media will make a peep about the sugar scandals. But the industry Nice Guys know how to snuff out such peeps. And on it goes.
So we’re left helpless and hopeless against the big private profits and smooth public relations of the type that once convinced everyone that the best doctors smoke and recommend cigarettes.
Well, we’re not quite hopeless right now, because for a combination of reasons, U.S. Sugar is willing to sell its farms at a reasonable price for Everglades restoration.
The acquisition could provide for a critically needed flowway south from Lake Okeechobee, bring back ground water and save marine life on both coasts from the assaults of excess fresh water that destroy estuaries.
There’s simply no other alternative to save the Glades.
Only the Nice Guys and their Pollution Establishment stand in the way.