Last night, Oct. 13, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson (R) alerted local media that President Donald Trump would be visiting Fort Myers in some capacity on Friday, Oct. 16.
The exact nature of the visit is unclear as of this writing: whether it will be a rally or just a visit, a drive-through or a meeting with local politicians. Also undetermined is the exact location of Trump’s appearance and whether it will be an event that will be held indoors or outdoors.
Whatever the final disposition, there’s little doubt that it will be a COVID-19 super spreader event. If a rally or speech, the president’s supporters will no doubt gather unmasked in tight groups. Lee County will be dealing with coronavirus fallout for weeks to come—if people are infected on Friday, they will likely become symptomatic around two weeks later. Any rally or gathering has the potential to create a wave of infections that could overwhelm Lee County medical facilities.
At the same time, a Trump visit provides the potential for Southwest Florida Democrats and supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden (D) to show their support for him and register their disapproval of Trump.
A “Ridin’ with Biden” caravan through Fort Myers on Friday would be a safe, peaceful and appropriate response to a Trump visit, demonstrating the spirit and determination of Southwest Florida’s democratic community—and showing that local Trumpism is neither monolithic nor unchallenged.
A similar caravan in The Villages of Florida on Saturday, Oct. 10, gained national attention when it greeted Vice President Mike Pence’s arrival.
Southwest Florida can do its part for American democracy and a Joe Biden victory. The time is short but the stakes are high and the need is great.
(This story will be updated as new details become available.)
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg