Everyone knows that the Tea Party is a grassroots populist movement that is all about sticking up for the little guy, right? Wrong. As this hilariously pathetic example shows, pollution-loving Tea Party “activists” in South Florida not only don’t have the ability to muster enough support to hold their own rallies, they are now resorting to hiring paid actors in their desperate attempts to pretend that the people of Florida actually support their efforts to destroy the Everglades so that the sugar industry can turn a profit.
Tea Party organizers have been caught red-handed placing an advertisement in a local acting group’s Facebook page, offering to pay actors $75 to hold signs and pretend to be real protesters.
Nice try, Tea Partiers. The American people are on to you and your astro-turf “protests” on behalf of billionaires and corporate polluters.
The once pristine Everglades, like so many of America’s natural wonders, are being heavily polluted by large corporations in Republican states- in this case sugar factories, who dump tons of phosphorous pollutants into Lake Okeechobee. A plan for the local government to buy up 46,000 acres from US Sugar to create a protective reservoir and natural detoxification area was put on hold when the recession hit, and efforts to renew it are being opposed by the local Tea Party cabal.
It would appear that Republican legislators, in the pockets of the sugar lobby, plan to hijack the funds set aside by the recently passed Amendment 1, which earmarked conservation funds from a document tax. Mark Ferrulo of Progress Florida explains it as such: “[In the late 90s’] they took lottery money and used it for existing costs…and to give tax breaks to corporations and other special interests. We’re seeing the same thing play out with Amendment 1 — they’re taking the bulk of Amendment 1 money and using it for pet projects pushed by powerful developers and other special interests for things that are not land and water conservation.”
It’s despicable that the so called “champions of fiscal responsibility” cater to the needs of mega-rich corporations so blatantly.
The power of corporate America is already deeply entrenched in Florida, to the point where industry has bought a ban on the very words climate change. But the further development of the Everglades will only worsen the consequences, and we need to make a united effort to stop corporate America from further wrecking our environment. The legislative session to decide the issue ends in May, and the deal for the land expires in October. Time is of the essence.
Sign the petition today to approve the land buy and restoration: here.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.