Florida’s Game of Thrones
Thanks go to Pam Smith of OSFR who contributed this link that is both amusing and tragic at the same time. Same ole same ole but expressed in a new way with originality and wit. Hats off to gimleteye Alan Farago and Eye on Miami.
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
A Game Of Thrones: the people of Miami and the populous South should support the civic uprisings in the North … by gimleteye
Florida is not run from the state legislature or the governor’s executive office. Those rights and responsibilities belong to the billionaires who occupy the real thrones in their respective Florida Kingdoms. In Miami and Fort Lauderdale and on the beaches, they would have it that people are too apathetic and disconnected to pay attention to the civic uprisings in the north over billions of gallons of toxic waste being dumped by the US Army Corps of Engineers into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.
The HBO series Game of Thrones isn’t popular because it is science fiction. It is popular because in the science fiction there exists an accurate, secular parable of political power.
In the staging of George RR Martin’s novel, there are no bicameral legislatures. No democracies-in-name-only like ours. Just money and power that covets at the point of a sword.
One can overlay that formula to describe Florida today and do perfectly well. Don’t listen to Governor Rick Scott attempting to explain the rosy state of the state: just watch Game of Thrones and transpose it to Florida.
In Florida’s Game of Thrones, there are also seven kingdoms.
The largest and most powerful — our King’s Landing — are intertwined: Big Sugar and Big Cattle.
Then there are Kingdoms are Sprawl and Rock Mining. Both these Kingdoms flow from land use controlled by our King’s Landing and their Lannisters: the Lykes, the Fanjul families and their ministers.
The Kingdom of Water works hand in hand with the two other Kingdoms: the Kingdom of Electricy and Kingdom of Finance. In reality, all their Kings hide behind public relations departments and corporate veils.
Florida’s Seven Kingdoms plot to extract great wealth from the earth and minimize to every practical extent paying the costs. This is reality.
In the HBO series, the Kingdoms have identifiable family leaders: the Lannisters, the Starks, the Baratheans. It is so complicated, even George RR Martin needs an Excel spreadsheet to keep track.
In Florida, it is actually easier because all an observer has to do is to watch the outcome. The easiest outcome to observe of all is water pollution. The biggest problem with observing water pollution is that it is everywhere.
Big Cattle and Big Sugar billionaires dictate the water management system and operational standards that turned Lake Okeechobee into one of the world’s largest irrigation systems and cesspools at the same time. Why, this morning in Fort Myers, the news reports of a man who touched fresh water contaminated by the Kingdoms and contracted a flesh eating bacteria. Tell me that’s not a worthy punishment from our Game of Thrones?
Consider this subplot: how US Senator and GOP hopeful Marco Rubio was a Jeb Bush knight who proved his mettle in the state legislature, helping push through a diminished water quality standard in 2003 sought by the Kings of the West and the East and the South.
There are two other kingdoms that press in from all sides: the Kingdom of rock miners who extract phosphates and lime rock and the Kingdom of Sprawl whose armies consume wetlands with the same joy and purpose of feudal soldiers of Europe ransacking towns and villages centuries ago, claiming the spoils for their lords. The Kings of Water, Electricity and Finance serve their purposes with congeniality and feasts, throwing bones to the starving dogs who circle the table.
The common people and land owners are victimized by this Florida Game of Thrones just like the one watched by millions on HBO. But here in Florida, there is no Dragon or Army of Unsullied to a fictional rescue.
What unites the Kingdoms in this Game of Thrones is a single purpose: to externalize costs so that the Kings can continue to harvest massive profits and wealth. The only end game is to become more powerful and wealthier.
When too much attention is drawn on their pollution, for example, they blame septic tanks of the little people.
For the seasons of Florida’s real life Game of Thrones, the people have been complacent, partly because they are persuaded that selfishness will be rewarded the same way as it does, the greed of Kings.
All that nonsense about culture wars is just chatter soaking up the weight of time. Strip it, and you come to money and power and the Seven Kingdoms of Florida: Big Sugar, Big Cattle, Sprawl, Rock Mining, Water, Electricity, and Finance.
Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is nothing compared to Florida’s Game of Thrones. The State of Florida is a figment of the imagination. Whatever legitimacy our democracy once afforded citizens has been blown to pieces by corrupt campaign finance practices.
If you are inclined to agree that there is something rotten in the heart of Florida, pay attention to the civic uprisings in the north about water pollution; about the streaming of toxics from Lake Okeechobee to the east and west coasts of the Empire.
With all uprisings there is a tipping point, and with the Kings of the Seven Kingdoms of Florida there must be uneasy awareness that as slowly as Kingdoms rise, when they fall, they fall much faster.