Our generation needed DeSantis to take a stand

Columnist Cyrena Allen. Photo courtesy Allen

Since early March, the coronavirus pandemic has left Americans looking to leaders for guidance and answers. Unfortunately, almost 200,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began.

Studies have revealed about 677,000 positive cases and a little over 13,000 deaths just in Florida.

A failure to meet the basic needs to survive the pandemic has resulted in a growing distrust between residents and  Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.

According to a recent study released Tuesday by a Florida Atlantic University poll, DeSantis’ approval rate decreased significantly from his first year in office. However, with 43% of voters approving his performance and 44% disapproving, statistically within the poll’s margin of error guidelines, DeSantis’ ratings are tied.

Although, statistics may show a tie in satisfactory, is the poll really  a clear representation of all age groups?  After doing some research online, I decided to get the opinions of Gen Z for more insight on how they feel about the phase two re-opening of South Florida and its current state amid the pandemic.

“I think he needs to make the mask mandate rules stricter. For example, if he made a mask mandate in the bars he’s opening up from maybe 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., that could make all the difference,” Justin, 22, said.

“I do wish there were more things to do at times but health-wise I do feel like he should be a little more strict. He really is leaving a lot up to the business owners,” Ashley, 22, said.

During a spike that spread across the state in mid-June, DeSantis said the need to wear a face mask should be up to each individual. He said In a statement, “This has to be voluntarily because the constitution is not suspended just because there is a virus. You do have a right to protest, you have a right to go to religious service, all these other things.”

Similar to the governor’s views, there are some Gen Z members whose morals are aligned. Vynessah, 23 said that she believes upholding the economy is in everyone’s best interest.” People need to get back to work,” she said. “Our children need to be in school, especially considering data that suggests Black people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”

In contrast, Alyssa, 22, said, “Personally, I think it is a bit of a double-edged sword at this point because what he’s trying to do is get back to a sense of normalcy, but what most people aren’t grasping is that it’s never going to be normal again. Being that a lot of bars are privately owned you have people who are struggling to put food on their table because they can’t feed their families because their business is closed down. Where I think he needs to meet in the middle with a lot of citizens is actually come up with a plan.”

After talking to my peers, in certain aspects the opinions of Gen Z resonated with me. However, as a millennial, I believe that Governor DeSantis should be more assertive in ordering a comprehensive plan that allows the state to reopen in a safe way with Florida residents bests interest at heart.