In this episode of the Lean to the Left podcast, host Bob Gatty welcomes Dick Batchelor, a former Florida House Representative and influential business consultant with a 50-year career in public service.

The discussion delves into the current divisiveness in American society, touching on political polarization, the impact of Donald Trump's presidency, and the challenges of achieving consensus in such a climate. Batchelor shares his experiences and insights from his long career, including his shift from supporting the Vietnam War to becoming an anti-war activist and his efforts in various civil and human rights commissions.

The podcast covers strategies from Batchelor's book 'Building Bridges in Toxic Political Times, a Roadmap for Community Leaders,' aimed at finding common ground and fostering dialogue. Key strategies include prioritizing human aspects over politics, leveraging influence, effective communication, and creativity in addressing complex social issues.

Batchelor also comments on contemporary political figures and the effects of pivotal Supreme Court decisions, emphasizing the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the role individuals play in bridging divides.

00:00 Welcome to Lean to the Left: Tackling Divisiveness in America

00:28 Introducing Dick Batchelor: A Life of Public Service

01:54 Exploring the Depths of Political Divisiveness

04:09 Finding Common Ground in a Polarized Society

08:33 Strategies for Bridging Divides: Dick Batchelor's Insights

21:17 The Power of Communication and Creativity in Conflict Resolution

29:26 Concluding Thoughts and Where to Find the Book 

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Show Notes

Building Bridges in Divisive Times with Dick Batchelor


In this episode of the 'Lean to the Left' podcast, the host discusses the divisive political climate in America, highlighting the polarization across various levels of society. Guest Dick Batchelor, a former Florida House of Representatives member and a respected consultant, shares insights from his 50 years in public service, including strategies for community leaders to bridge political divides. The conversation covers Batchelor's transition from a Vietnam War veteran to an anti-war activist, his views as a liberal Democrat, and his efforts in addressing social issues like fentanyl crises and educational reforms through bipartisan cooperation. Batchelor, who also is a Marine Corps veteran and an author, talks about his book 'Building Bridges in Toxic Political Times, a Roadmap for Community Leaders,' offering ten strategies to foster understanding and collaboration amidst political arguments and misinformation. The discussion also touches on the impact of decisions like the Citizens United case on political funding and the challenges faced by individuals like Governor DeSantis. The episode ends with information on how to find Batchelor's book for further reading.


00:00 Welcome to Lean to the Left: Tackling Divisiveness in America

00:28 Introducing Dick Batchelor: A Life of Public Service

01:54 Exploring the Depths of Political Divisiveness

04:09 Finding Common Ground Amidst Political Chaos

08:40 Strategies for Bridging Divides: A Deep Dive

08:53 The Power of Personal Transformation and Community Action

16:02 Leveraging Influence and Creativity for Change

29:26 Concluding Thoughts: The Path Forward

Show Transcript

Dick Batchelor

[00:00:00] Bob Gatty: Hey guys, welcome to the Lean to the Left podcast, where we explore important social issues of our time with just a little lean to the left. 

[00:00:08] Today we address the divisiveness that's beset our country, pitting neighbors against neighbors, parents against teachers, Republicans against Democrats, even family members squaring off against each other, mostly because of politics and whether or not We support Donald Trump.

[00:00:28] Our guest today is Dick Batchelor, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and president of one of the most respected and influential business development consulting firms in Florida. Dick, who has consistently been recognized as one of the most powerful people in Orlando, brings 50 years of public service to the table.

[00:00:51] Including two presidential appointments to high level delegations. His intimate knowledge of the political landscape and commitment to his community make him a sought after strategist, and we're delighted to have him with us today. But first, I want to invite you guys to visit our podcast. leantotheleft. net website, where you'll find thumbnails and links to all of our episodes. You can subscribe there, too, for free. And don't forget to give us a rating. Five stars would be super cool. Now, stay with us. 

[00:01:27] Dick Batchelor, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, is the author of a new book, "Building Bridges in Toxic Political Times, a Roadmap for Community Leaders," which we'll discuss today.

[00:01:42] Dick, welcome to the Lean to the Left podcast. 

[00:01:45] Dick Batchelor: Thank you very much. And even though I just got introduced to this opportunity, I give you five stars. Right off the top. Thank you very much, I appreciate 

[00:01:53] Bob Gatty: that. Now you've worked in politics and public service for some 50 years. Hard to believe, but I guess that's true.

[00:02:01] Have you ever seen the kind of rancor and hostility that we're dealing with today? 

[00:02:07] Dick Batchelor: No, we haven't. It's unprecedented. Now, after the Vietnam War, when I came back from Vietnam, I changed my mind about supporting the war, having been there and lost a number of friends. So I became an anti war activist, worked to register 18 year olds to vote.

[00:02:23] So back in those times and leading up to the Chicago convention, there was a lot of animosity and Frankly, I would expect to see that on display at the upcoming convention, particularly dealing with the Israeli Gaza issue, the Palestinian issue. We haven't seen it and I don't think since 1968 at the Democratic convention and then the Republican convention.

[00:02:44] But today it's very tough. And let me just make one point. I am, I know my lane. I'm in the, I'm in the left lane. I am a liberal Democrat. So when I talk about the context of bringing people together, there's some people who will never come together on any issue and I accept that, but we work around that.

[00:03:02] So I wanted to, my lane's well known. 

[00:03:05] Bob Gatty: I understand that, and that's my lane too, Dick. And speaking of the Democratic Convention in Chicago, I was with United Press International during those days, and was able to cover that, or cover part of that convention for UPI. And it was one of the highlights of my professional career.

[00:03:24] It was just an incredible experience. And certainly there was the divisions and I guess you could say rancor that cropped up then as a result of the war in Vietnam. But today it's different. Today we're not fighting over whether we should be in some war somewhere. We're fighting over Yeah, I'm not quite sure what the hell we're fighting over, but I just know that in my own family, my brother doesn't talk to me because of my position on political issues.

[00:03:59] And it's just a incredible thing. 

[00:04:03] Dick Batchelor: It is. And I've got that going on with my family, so I can relate directly. 

[00:04:09] Bob Gatty: How do you think we can find some middle ground and maybe hit that sweet spot where we listen instead of shout? 

[00:04:15] Dick Batchelor: Again, you got, you have to go ahead and I think to be very candid, you've got the people at the far left shouting beyond the people on the right.

[00:04:23] And you've got the people in the far right shouting beyond the people and the people in the middle of kind of see these volleys going back and forth over them, and they're trying to moderate some of these issues. Now, let me point out again that not, I'm not naive. The fact is there's some issues we will not agree on.

[00:04:39] My brother and I will not agree on my animosity, if I might use that word towards Donald Trump, and he will not support me and my support of Joe Biden, but there are, and there are some issues. So what I try to do is basically say, look, set aside some of those issues on which there is no agreement at all.

[00:04:58] But can you find some issues you own, which you can agree? Let me use it at a community level to begin with before we go to a, maybe a state and national level. In your community and my communities specifically, we have a fentanyl crisis, a lot of overdoses, a lot of deaths from fentanyl.

[00:05:13] Fentanyl does not discriminate against who it kills. Republican, independents, NPAs, Democrats. It does not discriminate. So there's an issue that look, can we get together? I co chair that effort in Orlando and the other co chair is the CEO of Red Lobster. Obviously he's in a different political lane than I am generally speaking, but we can put aside those issues.

[00:05:34] Don't even discuss those issues and come to the table. And then maybe also candidate. If some people you don't invite to the table for some of these issues will never resolve, will never reach agreement on and can't, but you had the capacity to basically set aside those issues, come together in the community leaders, faith leaders, not for profit leaders, and focus on issues no matter how controversial they might be, but there are a political issue, human trafficking, domestic violence, child abuse, fentanyl overdoses.

[00:06:03] So there are issues like that where I think you can set aside your very strident political differences, left and right, and come together in the middle of some issues. 

[00:06:12] Bob Gatty: That would certainly be nice if that could happen. You've done a lot of work serving on the UN's Human Rights Commission, the National Advisory Board for Human Rights First, and the U. S. Global Leadership Coalition Florida Advisory Board, and probably, who knows what else you've done in that long, illustrious career of yours. And I'm sure that during this period during that work, you've helped others work through controversy and disagreements to find consensus. Do you feel like that's possible today?

[00:06:45] Dick Batchelor: I think it's possible, but difficult. Again, I don't want to sound naive at all. I'm going to go back to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. We would meet with delegation and advocacy groups and come up with resolutions in a public forum where we would condemn The behavior, let's say the violation of human rights.

[00:07:02] In fact, the irony is that I delivered on the floor of this speech condemning Russia for the invasion of Chechnya. And here we are all these years later, looking looking at Ukraine, 

[00:07:12] Bob Gatty: right? 

[00:07:13] Dick Batchelor: So those are issues now that we had support for that. The only problem is China and back at the time Russia had veto as they do in the United Nations.

[00:07:24] So we got there, but it was very difficult to get there. That's an issue that was very divisive, obviously. But can we get there today? Again, if we look at the national level, it begs the question can we get there today, even within the Republican party, the speaker of the house is his his survivability is at risk where you can't get even the Republicans to come gather on something like the funding of Israel relief and Gaza, funding for Ukraine and Taiwan.

[00:07:54] Yeah. So even within a Republican party, you've got this divisive. You've got the freedom call to the extreme right wing. Dictate into the more moderate caucus. If there's such a thing in the Republican party but also so you don't, you have divisiveness even within the Republican party, as you do in the Democratic party.

[00:08:11] So it's difficult, but you make, you have to make your every day. I think. I like what Winston Churchill said in one of the, probably the most brief speech he made in. You just never give up. Never give up. So you're either in the arena, in the fight, or you're outside the arena and your vote doesn't count.

[00:08:28] It's that candid. Yeah. 

[00:08:33] Bob Gatty: Now, you write that your book is about bringing people together and getting things done, and that's what we're talking about here. You offer ten strategies to achieve that end, and I'd like to go through those ten strategies if you don't mind, Dick. The first one is figure out what you are.

[00:08:51] What are you talking about? 

[00:08:53] Dick Batchelor: When I grew up, my parents were tobacco farmers, sharecroppers in North Carolina. The only blacks that I was introduced to were black fieldhands. There was talk about Klan activity. My relatives even talk about probably being members of the Klan. I grew up and then I joined the Marine Corps and found, met the first black James Johnson, who I ever met and befriended.

[00:09:14] And we stayed friends until his recent death. But he really opened my eyes to what is this race issue? What is this race issue? And keep in mind in 67, 68, during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, you had Bobby Kennedy was killed. Robert Martin Luther King was killed. So you had a race, you had the divisiveness, divisiveness in, even in Vietnam between the blacks and the whites at the time.

[00:09:40] Of course, we had all of the riots, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But he helped me understand the difference in how we should not discriminate based on race, For instance, and I, he educated me a great deal. I went on a recruit when I was head of the young Democrats, the first three blacks who ever run for the legislature, even though they didn't have a chance to win in Orange County, Florida at large districts.

[00:10:03] In fact, yesterday I had lunch with one of the blacks I recruited in 1972, had not seen him until yesterday, since 1972, and we were recounting those efforts. I went on to become the. Not only recruiting blacks to run for office, working to get voter registration out in the community. And also I ended up being the chairman for two years of the Urban League, the local chapter of the second oldest African American organization in the country.

[00:10:28] So you don't have to be what people think you're going to be because of your environmental influences. You can get beyond that. Open your mind, talk to people, learn grow in capacity and learning. 

[00:10:42] Bob Gatty: Now, strategy number two is titled. assess the issue. You talk about the impact of the news media and the drive by media outlets and their role in shaping public opinion.

[00:10:56] The drive to get clicks and views and whatnot. Can you please elaborate about that? 

[00:11:02] Dick Batchelor: Did I say Fox? You've got people who were spoon fed. I think what happened is that there's a term I coined called intellectual laziness. That is, if I turn on Fox every morning and listen to them, regurgitate what I hear, not invite, in fact, send off any input that might be to the contrary, politically, then I'm intellectually lazy.

[00:11:26] Just you tell me what you want me to regurgitate. Propaganda, I will regurgitate. And so I think that's a big factor that people and you can just accuse, I guess the right could accuse by Democrats on the left, if we tune in MSNBC, we regurgitate what they say, I don't think it's strident. In fact the Fox is the mouthpiece of the Republican national committee and more specifically Donald Trump's campaign.

[00:11:49] So I think. I think there's intellectual laziness. People are not willing to open their mind, do not want to hear anything that you could convene them if they're willing to listen. And that's why some people don't get invited to convene with you. They just are innately toxic and they just don't get invited.

[00:12:06] So that's how you distinguish between the two. Okay. 

[00:12:11] Bob Gatty: Strategy number three is find the center. And it talks about discovering the balancing point that offers the best choice for agreement. Talk about that. What's that about? 

[00:12:23] Dick Batchelor: Yeah. Let me use an example in our community, in 2002 the school board came forward and said, we have 138 schools in some state of disrepair.

[00:12:33] We have no money. No money at all. Okay? We have tried six times in 20 years to pass a half a penny of sales tax By referendum, they have all failed. Would you lead a campaign? I said you asked me to lead a campaign. It's failed six times. I appreciate the compliment, right? Let's do it.

[00:12:48] But we did, but so you had a tax issue. The Republicans traditionally are not pro tax. 

[00:12:54] Bob Gatty: So 

[00:12:54] Dick Batchelor: how do I get the Republicans to the table? So I was the co chairman as a Democrat. I recruited the late Congressman Lou Frye who was a Congressman for many years, be my co chairman. So we depoliticized it.

[00:13:07] We hired a Democratic pollster and a Republican pollster. So people could not say The poll results are skewed in favor of it. So you're being partisan. We could do that. So basically that's how you brought people together. While taxes innately are opposed by Republicans, we were able to get them to see what was really needed.

[00:13:23] And that was these kids needed schools that weren't falling down. So you can. Richard Cosey Allen, things like this, and where the commonality and the common interest is what's good for the kids. 

[00:13:35] Bob Gatty: Okay, but it takes people who are willing to look at the big picture and not just, react to the to the political attitudes of the times, right?

[00:13:46] Dick Batchelor: Yeah, we had a group called acts, the tax back then, which was our opposition acts, the tax, of course, my response, we should tax the acts, but that didn't go over very well. But anyway, actually tax was our opposition, very strident. But, and focus on it. It's a tax, it's a tax, but we were able to overcome that and pass the referendum, but I think something like 66%.

[00:14:06] Bob Gatty: Yeah, years ago after I left United Press International I went to work for two members of Congress, and one of them was Jim Florio, who was, later became governor of New Jersey. And when he was governor of New Jersey, one of the, he was left a mess by the Republicans, his Republican predecessors.

[00:14:28] He was left a fiscal mess. And he had no choice but to increase taxes. I think it was the state income tax that he was increasing. And, of course, the Republicans were all against it, and and his own party was giving him a hard time. And what did he do to to get that passed? He had the sergeant at arms stop the clock.

[00:14:53] In the in the In the chamber. In the chamber. In the chamber. Because the clock controlled everything. They had a certain period of time that they could do their work. And when it hit a certain time, that was it. He had them stop the clock. And he wouldn't let them out until they voted for the damn bill.

[00:15:11] Dick Batchelor: There's a those things have been, I've been in the legislature when they stopped the clock on the appropriations bill, cause it had to be done by midnight and they can't stop it stopping the clock. And I remember the story about Huey Long, who was really, some say a socialist, but was certainly a rebel rouser.

[00:15:28] When he was a governor of Louisiana, he was trying to pass a tax and the legislature would not pass a tax for transportation. So what he did is he. Near the lake Poncho Tran, he paved the road for a quarter mile and then left it unpaved, then paved again, and then let it unpaved. So the people were driving on it with, for the luxury of riding on the pave pavement versus on the on the gravel, Uhhuh

[00:15:56] So he finally got the legislature to, to fund roads construction in a very clever way.

[00:16:02] Bob Gatty: Now, strategy four, leverage your influence, describes what you must do to be an effective bridge builder. Can you explain what that's about? 

[00:16:12] Dick Batchelor: Yeah. Everybody has what I call currency. You might call it personal currency, credibility, political currency, whatever phraseology you want to use. But people come to the table, if they have an interest in an issue and willing to engage.

[00:16:25] And then they bring their own they bring their own currency. There's, I might use that term again, and that's where you come together and you build on the currency. You keep bringing people together. When we did, I'm going to use the school tax again, as an example, we invited her, we had the Hispanic chamber, the regular chamber, economic development.

[00:16:44] We had a tourism sector. We had faith communities. We had the Asian American chamber. We had everybody we could think about. And in fact, the question was. How do I get on this advisory committee? As it show up, if you're interested in solving the problem, show up. You're now a part of it. And the other thing I want to say too, is you engage people that did a different level today.

[00:17:05] Back when I was in the legislature, I was the only white, every campaign door to door in the black communities. and outpolled Jimmy Carter in 1980 but most white politicians would go to a church intermittently from time to time campaign and never be heard of. And when they went there, what their message was, the message was, this is what I'm going to do for you.

[00:17:26] No. The paradigm has shifted drastically. You go to a community now, whether it's an African American community, Hispanic community, any minority community, and what you do is basically say, no, I'm here to listen. What do you want me to do for you? So the paradigm has shifted greatly. You don't tell people what you're going to do for them or tell people what they need.

[00:17:47] Listen to people. Let them tell you. God forbid there's a paradigm shift. Listen to what people want you to do for them. So that's one thing we did. And we went to these communities very first off and said your community is least able to pay this tax. But frankly, the schools that are falling down or in your neighborhoods with this tax will build new schools.

[00:18:08] Bob Gatty: All right. Your strategy number five is make people the priority, 

[00:18:12] Dick Batchelor: right? 

[00:18:13] Bob Gatty: Let's talk, tell me about that. 

[00:18:15] Dick Batchelor: I always say put a face on it. Put a face on the issue. When we did the schools, we didn't talk about bricks and mortar and asphalt. And the technology that would go in the new school, we talked about, put a face on it, here's a child, they're literally in classrooms with some of the ceilings are falling out literally, but it was always a bag, the child, the direct mail piece had a picture of a child, the TV commercials focused on the child.

[00:18:37] So put a face on the issue. It's oftentimes on data is important. Data is critically important. Now, in the old days, you just came up with what you thought you would do. Now, everybody want measured outcomes, benchmarks, analytics. They want very specific information, right? So you've got to have that detailed kind of information.

[00:18:57] But in front of that, you've got to put a face on the issue, whether it's a school construction, Fentanyl deaths, whatever it might be, put a face on it so people will engage around that issue, the person rather than the analytics of the situation. 

[00:19:12] Bob Gatty: Okay, strategy number six is remove obstacles. Explain what you're talking about.

[00:19:18] Dick Batchelor: Two, two or three things. One, first of all, not everybody has to be invited to convene. Again, if they're innately toxic and they're not going to do anything to advance the cause or try to find consensus on an issue. They just don't get, they just don't get to come. You just don't use your time trying to convince them to come.

[00:19:35] They're toxic. They're not going to make a contribution. That's number one. That's one obstacle you just have to set aside. The second obstacle is what is it that might be opposed? For instance, if I might go back on the opioid crisis again, fentanyl is causing the death. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

[00:19:56] So are, so how do we address that issue? Do we address it by saying these people are criminals, lock them up for overdoses, or do we make Narcan available so we can resuscitate these people who might be dying? Now then, it would've been many years ago, we offered the Narcan back in 1974 as a 26-year-old freshman legend.

[00:20:16] I filed a bill in 1974 to reduce, to increase the amount of marijuana you could possess. And decrease the penalty. It was not legalization, but it was increased the amount you could possess. The reason was under the old law would be a certain amount you possess a presumption that you were trafficking.

[00:20:34] So we were putting 18 year old kids in prison. Which is obviously wrong. So I filed the bill. Now you would think that I wrote a hand grenade in the rotunda between the House and the Senate. They thought I was completely insane. Of course, the bill never passed. Of course, this year in Florida, on the constitutional amendment process, on the ballot, we had the legalization of recreational marijuana.

[00:20:56] This is 2024. My bill was in 1974. So it is interesting. You can you have to get people to focus on what the solution is to the problem. And it's not usually a radical solution to the problem, but you gotta get them to f to focus on that individual that's being either well served or not being served at all.

[00:21:15] Bob Gatty: Okay? Now, strategy number seven focuses on the importance of communication. And in the opening paragraph of your book, you point out that. The world has been shaped by words. Now, indeed, words are at the heart of the dissension that occurs today, and they are the remedy as well, don't you think? 

[00:21:37] Dick Batchelor: They are, and there's so much influence now not on just the media, but look at The advent of social media and how unregulated it can be and how destructive it could be.

[00:21:50] We're in the, talk about the coming wave, artificial intelligence. Now we're seeing where not only local actors, but also foreign actors are using artificial intelligence to influence outcome of elections. 

[00:22:04] Bob Gatty: Yeah. 

[00:22:04] Dick Batchelor: It's It's more and more difficult because I think it miniaturizes the role an individual can play in the process.

[00:22:11] And I think it also has the person think that they, that a weakened capacity to influence politics and to a degree they do. But the only option you have is that convene with people and try to get things done, stay focused. You don't have a choice not to be involved in it, but notwithstanding, but words are obviously important, but the problem is now they've become.

[00:22:34] So hijacked with different media, that it's very hard to stay focused. 

[00:22:38] Bob Gatty: Yeah. Yeah, that's for sure. All you have to do is look at Twitter, and you'll see that. 

[00:22:45] Dick Batchelor: Absolutely. 

[00:22:47] Bob Gatty: Okay, so strategy number eight is keep your cool. Now my question is this, in the face of all of the lies and all of the distortions that we have to deal with today, how in the hell is it possible to keep your cool?

[00:23:04] Dick Batchelor: It's very difficult on when you're on particularly on the national level. There's so many issues. What's going on in Congress now, the presidential bid it's very hard to keep your cool.. And again, I'm not naive because those people who've are, let's say the on the right.

[00:23:22] From where I am and we have these degrees. I write columns all the time selling the behavior of governor DeSantis in the state of Florida. He wants to outlaw AP courses, African American history, don't say gay re rewriting the history of Rosa Parks. All of these kinds of crazy right wing stuff.

[00:23:42] I will never agree with the governor or his cabal in the Republican legislature on Those issues, but can we find other issues locally where to stand as supporters and people who might support me can come together? There are. But again, I don't want this to be a, I don't see a kumbaya, I don't see that kind of dance, right?

[00:24:05] But some of the issues you would just never agree on and nor would I ever.

[00:24:10] Bob Gatty: Okay. Finally, your no, strategy number nine. The headline is, Be Creative. What are you talking about? How can you be creative and get through all of this? 

[00:24:21] Dick Batchelor: Be creative and again, I think finding the issues on which there can be some agreement. You might not think think that going in, but you can come up with some of those issues that you can agree on.

[00:24:33] And that's where the creativity comes in. And how do you frame the issue? Again, We framed the children's tax rebuilding schools as a construction boondoggle. It won't be funded. If it's about children, it will be funded with the bipartisan support. So the message is very important. Get back. And I always say, put a face on the issue, put a face on the issue, just like what's going on in Congress now, if you talk about Israel, what happened on October 7th, you're talking about the Palestinians. Thousands of people have been killed in the Gaza strip. You talk about what's going on in Ukraine and the deaths there, you've got to, you've got to, that's what you're debating. You're not devoted debating what something is generic as world order.

[00:25:15] You're debating some very specific things like this. So you have to hone in on that. And hopefully that might be what saves the funding in the Congress is because they're beginning to hone in on the loss of life and the turmoil that's going on around the world. We have an opportunity to at least help mitigate the damages.

[00:25:35] Bob Gatty: Okay. Now your strategy number 10 is titled, be nice, but be strong. Now, that sounds good to me, but what do you do when you're confronted with arguments that are just flat out wrong and based on lies and distortions? How do you, how is it possible to keep your cool? I just don't know. 

[00:25:58] Dick Batchelor: I think you keep your cool by just disavowing.

[00:26:00] Just say they're not involved in the conversation. Again, I want to get back to the point of some people who you just don't want involved in the conversation. If they're not there to be constructive, they don't get invited to the conversation. You go back to your corner. I'll fight you tomorrow on the issues that we disagree on.

[00:26:17] On this issue, I will convene with people of your party, of your stripe, your political stripe, and we'll get some things done. One thing I wanted to point out to you before before we wrap it up too, one of the influences, and it's really been very caustic in my opinion, is the Citizens United case. Because the, because Citizen United basically ruled that a corporation has the same constitutional basis as an individual now you can give unlimited campaign contributions from corporations that is, it really is.

[00:26:49] What does it say? Money is the mother's milk of politics, but they have bastardized the the process of election fee, electing people. I was talking to somebody yesterday when I was in the legislature, because it's been many years ago, you'd run for the legislature. You might spend 40, 50, 000. Day in Florida to win a seat in the Florida legislature, which is about one sixth the size of a county, it's a million dollars for a job that pays 37, 000 because it's with this influence of political contribution.

[00:27:18] Citizens United was the most dastardly decision up until Roe v. Wade that was ever made by the Supreme Court in the last 50 years. It's bastardized the political process. It's given the influence to corporation. It's miniaturized the influence individuals have. So that's why it's so difficult and very frustrating.

[00:27:37] And I understand. But bottom line is find some things that you can agree on and get those done, because otherwise you basically surrendered the ground to the opposition. 

[00:27:47] Bob Gatty: Yeah. You mentioned governor DeSantis a few minutes ago, and it just occurred to me that since he pulled out of the presidential race, I haven't heard the word woke, 

[00:28:02] Dick Batchelor: which he used all 

[00:28:02] Bob Gatty: the time.

[00:28:03] Right. 

[00:28:04] Dick Batchelor: Yeah, the governor used to say Florida's world won't come to die. I think it died someplace between here and Iowa. He spent 150 million. He campaigned in 99 counties in Iowa and lost every county. So I don't think his message resonated very well, but he's back in Florida hoping that the bit we're now going to teach Americanism versus communism to elementary school students.

[00:28:26] I took it in the ninth grade. No, we're not going to teach young people. We got the book, banning it. We've got lots going on. So he's not giving up. I guess he's still trying to maintain his in his lane till it can run in 2028, but but we'll see, but I think he learned his lesson that his platform does not sell very well in every place.

[00:28:47] Bob Gatty: Can you keep your cool when you're dealing with him? 

[00:28:50] Dick Batchelor: No. To be honest, like I cannot, we're so stridently opposed. I don't know anything that I agree with Governor DeSantis. What I should have said is one thing he did put on his agenda when he got first elected, Environmental protection was very important, and I really applauded him for that.

[00:29:07] He also said teachers salaries should be not 35, 000 starting, but 50, 000. I agree with him on that. In fact, I wrote a column in the Orlando Senate praising him. I said, I'm going to make Democrats and Republicans very nervous because I'm going to agree with the governor. There is nothing that he's done since then that I agree on.

[00:29:23] Nothing at all. 

[00:29:25] Bob Gatty: All right. Have you got anything else you'd like to add before we talk about where people can find your book? 

[00:29:32] Dick Batchelor: No, I'm good to go, and Okay. 

[00:29:34] Bob Gatty: All right, so where can they find your book? I 

[00:29:37] Dick Batchelor: guess it's on Amazon. Yeah, the book is published on Amazon Books. If you go to Amazon Books, just put in my name, Dick Batchelor, it will come up.

[00:29:42] Or if you just put in Building Bridges. It talks at political times. It was also come up. So I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy it. 

[00:29:51] Bob Gatty: Okay. And by the way, for you folks who are listening, Dick's name is B A T C H E L O R. So you just put that in and into Amazon and you'll find this book. And trust me, it works because I did it.

[00:30:07] Yeah, 

[00:30:07] Dick Batchelor: thank you. 

[00:30:08] Bob Gatty: Okay. All right. Dick, thanks so much. I enjoyed talking to you immensely. And I appreciate you coming on with us today. 

[00:30:16] Dick Batchelor: Thank you very much. And I still give you the five stars. 

[00:30:19] Bob Gatty: Thanks. 

[00:30:21] Dick Batchelor: very much. 

[00:30:21] Bob Gatty: I'm grateful. 

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