Cara Jennings heckles a lot of Republicans. She’s the woman who started hollering at Florida Governor Rick Scott about Obamacare in a Starbucks recently, and quickly became a viral video sensation.
There’s zero surprising to know about Jennings. She’s a Green Party/Occupy/anarchist/Earth First! activist with the most usual-suspect c.v. you could find. She was born to heckle Rick Scott about Obamacare, independent of any skin she may or may not have in the Obamacare game.
The main PAC that backs Rick Scott, Let’s Get to Work PAC, put out a video spot of its own a couple of days ago, highlighting that Ms. Jennings, far from being a random concerned citizen, is a long-time “anarchist” activist who has held public office. (As a Green Party representative, she was a two-term commissioner for the city of Lake Worth, Florida, in Palm Beach County.)
But the brevity of the PAC’s video doesn’t really do her justice. Scott’s political foes are now whining that the video is an attack on Cara Jennings. But its restraint is admirable, given all the material it could have used.
Basically, Jennings shows up in all the predictable places doing all the predictable things.
She heckled Marco Rubio.
She heckled Newt Gingrich.
She organized protests of the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012.
She got arrested protesting against Israel at the Israeli consulate in Miami. (I mean, of course. Who doesn’t?)
She was arrested in 2003 for protesting the establishment of a Free Trade Zone in the Miami area. (She later won a settlement of $1,500 from the city – along with a group of fellow plaintiffs who each got the same – over allegations that her rights were violated.)
She’s been involved with the Occupy movement, participating in at least one of its demonstrations in New York in 2014.
She’s a founder of the Everglades Earth First! chapter, and has organized its protest activities since at least 2005.
She’s a “direct action” trainer for activists, plugged in with SEIU (although she’s not a government employee herself) and the typical laundry list of radical-left organizations. A commenter at this Lake Worth-centric blog alleges that Jennings’s ties to Occupy godmother Lisa Fithian – who organized direct action in Ferguson and Baltimore – are “well documented,” although I can’t say that for a fact. I only mention it because it seems likely, given Jennings’s activities as both a direct-action trainer and a protest organizer.
This video shows her organizing a protest against Florida Power and Light in 2012.
The laudatory article here is the source of the Scott PAC’s claim that Jennings refused to say the pledge of allegiance at Lake Worth city commission meetings. Jennings acknowledged that herself to the article’s author.
This article from 2010 describes her life as both a political activist and the HUD-enabled proprietor of a residential property that at least some of her Lake Worth neighbors probably find annoying. Besides hosting a “compact urban farm,” fortified with beehives and sewn regularly with worm poop, along with the old white Mercedes diesel modified to run on vegetable oil, Jennings’s home “serves as a makeshift crash pad for an underground railroad of anarchists in South Florida.” A sign posted in the house proclaims:
We are a community-orientated [sic] anarchist + collective home!
The sign goes on to warn against wearing out your welcome by “zoning out” on computers, and urges visitors to help out by dumping the compost, sweeping the floors, washing dishes, emptying kitchen/bathroom trash cans, and watering the garden.
I think we can all agree that if you’re going to take out a mortgage backed by the taxpayer and decline to do productive work that results in actually paying net income taxes yourself, the least you can do is urge your anarchist-railroad guests to dump some compost and sweep some floors. So we’ve got that going for us.
There’s a lot more, but I think you’ve got the picture. I’m really stumped as to what Ms. Jennings has to complain about. She’s got a roof over her head, which she can offer to whomever she chooses. She can edge closer by the day to living “off the grid,” courtesy of a network of social and urban development programs paid for by the people she rails against who don’t live off the grid. (She was working in 2010 on getting Lake Worth residential properties opened up to keeping chickens. No word on how that’s been going.)
In spite of not actually “producing,” but only engaging in “activism,” Jennings has everything she needs. At no previous time in human history was it possible for someone to say that, who wasn’t living off a monetary legacy from her parents or other relatives. Jennings is living off you and me.
She quite probably qualifies already for Medicaid. It would cost the people of Florida a lot more to expand Medicaid, just so she can pretend Obamacare has expanded “private insurance.” Why should they have to do that?
Cara Jennings may be determined to live a life of quiet desperation, but most of us don’t want to. I think people are wising up to these deceptively framed viral moments; we’ve started assuming, among other things, that hecklers who target Republicans are probably professional activists (and probably plugged in to rad-left networks funded largely by George Soros). Jennings certainly fits that profile. Nothing to see here. Move it along.