I recently returned from a vacation to the Free Republic of Florida. As a resident of the Communist Republic of Chicago, a place where lockdowns and violent crime have run rampant for over a year (or in the case of violent crime, several decades), this was a particularly jarring experience.
You see, in the Free Republic of Florida, people seem happy (maybe meth?). Floridians travel freely, mostly mask-less, go to bars, restaurants, theme parks and seem to lack the sense of impending doom that many of us endure on near daily basis. People in Florida seem to walk with their shoulders back and their chests out, a far cry from the tense, slouched, angst-riddled-posture that I'm used to seeing in Chicago.
Part of this is undoubtedly attributable to the weather. In Chicago, we are limited to about 50 days each year where the weather isn't unbearably cold, or miserably hot and humid. We're forced to spend the vast majority of our time indoors, eating deep-dish pizza (not really, but I'm playing into stereotypes for your enjoyment), watching our corrupt political leaders destroy our beautiful city and suffering through another embarrassing loss from our ne'er-do-well sports teams.
The Florida Man does not suffer from such climate-related restrictions, there is actual sun in Florida. There are actual beaches in Florida, where you can swim in actual oceans, that are warm. Even Florida's sports teams are good right now. The Miami Heat reached the NBA finals last year. The Tampa Rays reached, but lost the World Series and currently have one of the best record in baseball. The Tampa Lightning won the most recent Stanley Cup (and are currently in the playoffs, two wins away from reaching another finals). Florida is so hot right now that they lured the greatest football player of all-time to their state and he won them a fucking Super Bowl in year one.
So yeah, it's a good time to live in the Free Republic of Florida, but it's not just because of the weather, the sports teams or SeaWorld Orlando. No, to the outsider from a sapphire blue state, it feels like Florida and it's government respects one's freedom to be themselves and, more or less, govern one's own behavior. There isn't an omnipresent feeling of BIG government in Florida, there is no state income tax, you don't see meter-maids scouring every city block, looking for any reason to penalize the populous and collect 50 bucks to support the failed local government.
Some of this, should, in my opinion, be attributed to Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis. Make no mistake, I am not a neutral observer here, I've made it no secret that I'm a fan of DeSantis, the man and the politician.
Some part of my support for DeSantis is inextricably tied to my resentment of our corporate media. Over the past 15 months, no Governor has been under the media microscope as much as Ron DeSantis.
While Andrew Cuomo was (allegedly) sexually harassing women on his staff or literally misreporting data on the number of nursing home deaths that may have been caused by his terrible decision making, the media fawned over him and giggled as he and his brother gave each other metaphorical hand jobs on national television for weeks on end.
When Michiganders were suffering from the decisions made by Gretchen Whitmer (who, like Cuomo, discharged seniors with COVID back into nursing homes) during the pandemic, the media didn't question her leadership, they tried to get her the nomination for Vice President.
DeSantis, on the other hand, has been the literal embodiment of all things evil. There was the guy that the media and online leftists propped up, who walked along the beaches in a Grim Reaper costume, despite the fact that being outdoors was the safest place to be. You probably already know about the smear job 60 Minutes ran against him over vaccinations. You might have heard about the corporate media endorsed, former state employee who alleged tomfoolery with the Florida's COVID data. Her story was exposed as utter bullshit after National Review did the work that investigative journalists refused to perform.
The truth is DeSantis' performance as Governor during COVID wasn't PERFECT, but given the unique circumstances Florida presents, his performance probably lands somewhere between well above average and extremely fucking good.
As compared to other big states, DeSantis kept unemployment low. Despite having the oldest population in the United States, Florida's death rate was at the national average. While children in many states were e-learning (including my own), Florida kids were in the classroom.
So why would the corporate media target a Governor who didn't do an objectively bad job during the pandemic? Because they wanted to win an election, DeSantis is an unabashed conservative and they fear him.
And you know what, this is one time I actually agree with the Cathedral - they should fear him.
DeSantis does not appear afraid of the corporate media and has shown an adept ability to counter the media's most powerful weapon: the narrative. Where Donald Trump would use too often use a chainsaw (often failing to articulate what would otherwise be a popular position), DeSantis uses a scalpel, speaks clearly and brings facts that make his positions less assailable.
Narratives don't stick to DeSantis the way the stuck to Donald Trump because Ron DeSantis doesn't feed the animals with unnecessary verbal miscues. Accordingly the media is having a much more difficult time convincing normal Americans that Ron DeSantis is "Literally Hitler."
Moreover, DeSantis seems to have a beat on the pulse of common sense and has not retreated from the frontlines of the most charged issues we currently face. While other Republican Governors have shied away (looking at you, Noem) from taking common sense actions, such as not allowing biological males to compete with biological females in high school athletics, DeSantis signed a bill doing just that.
While many conservatives debate on what to do with Big Tech, DeSantis realized that he had to force the issue, signing a bill that requires media companies to explain why Florida residents were removed from their platforms. It's not a cure all, it's not a traditionally conservative move, but it's something that puts the onus on these companies to provide transparency.
Critical Race Theory? Oh yeah, he banned that too (lol), stating: "“[t]he woke class wants to teach kids to hate each other, rather than teaching them how to read, but we will not let them bring nonsense ideology into Florida’s schools. As the Governor of Florida, I love this state, and I love my country. I find it unthinkable that there are other people in positions of leadership in the federal government who believe that we should teach kids to hate our country. We will not stand for it here in Florida." Oh yeah, that's the stuff, hook it directly into my vein.
No matter what you think of DeSantis, you must give him credit - he is in a re-election cycle, he knows the corporate media is frothing at the mouth to attack him and he isn't backing down from the most politically controversial issues in our culture today.
Now this isn't to say that Ron DeSantis is perfect or that Florida is without its faults. For a cold-weather city boy like myself, Florida is unbearably hot. While I was there the temperature was mid-90s every single day of the week and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was face-melting, miserably, hot, though I do have the best tan of my life currently.
People in Florida also don't appear to know how to drive all that well. Every single day I was there with my family, there was at least ONE car accident that shut down the entire interstate. Either the local government sucks at clearing up minor accidents or these Floridians drive like meth'd-up psycopaths (could be both?) but either way, traffic seems ruined on a near daily basis.
Things, people and service, tend to move slower in Florida as well. Nobody really seems in a hurry to go anywhere, do anything or bring your kids their damn chicken tenders so they'll shut the fuck up and leave you alone.
No, quite contrary to what I am accustomed, things move a few clicks slower down in Florida and they seem to prefer it that way.
It's been over a week since I returned to Chiraq and I don't really know what I intended what I started writing this blog.
I haven't had the same level of interest in writing lately, so I guess part of me just wanted to reconnect with the audience (all 13 of you) and let you know how things were during my sojourn to the Sunshine State.
I suppose part of me wanted to provide you with a point of view from someone who lives in an often cold and miserable blue state who got the chance to visit an often warm and sunny, red state and have a laugh or two along the way.
I guess the message I'm trying to ham-handedly impart to you, the dear reader, is that it sure feels like that what's going on with DeSantis' Florida represents something more than sandy beaches and low taxes. Whether intentional or not, Florida finds itself at the nexus of the culture wars. The Left very much wants DeSantis and Florida to fail, be torn asunder and be held up as an example for all other governments who dare to challenge the orthodoxy.
Florida is standing up for itself, though. It's Governor is defiant, unbent and unbroken. It's people are free, happy and living the closest thing I've seen to pre-pandemic America. Florida is somehow a representation of what we've lost and a beacon of hope for what we may be once again.
If you're given the choice, "go southeast, young man", become an unapologetic Florida Man and never look back.
Have a great Father's Day and God Bless America.