• Dan Connors

Florida Sucks- Eight reasons why the Sunshine State should be renamed the Suck State




Florida. The Sunshine State and home of beautiful beaches, dazzling theme parks and Mar-a-lago. And one of the worst states in the USA. (Covid-19 has made that race to the bottom a nail-biter) Mind you- I love Florida and have been there many times. But Floridians have basked in the warmth of the sun, gleefully taken money from Northerners, and stuck their middle fingers high in the air at the rest of us for far too long.


I didn't always feel this way, but watching how Florida has botched its Covid-19 response while touting its crazy governor as our next president-in-waiting was the last straw. Florida doesn't live in reality, possibly because they've had it so cushy for the past century. While the state has given many of us (myself included), great memories of vacations gone by, it mucked up the 2000 election and things got worse from there. The state is now essentially a one-party state, run by Republicans for Republicans, and it gladly takes Northern liberal money to fill in the gaps of its pathetically small safety net.


Until I change my mind, I am boycotting Florida until it convinces me it takes reality seriously. Sure there are other states that also deserve boycotts- Texas, Georgia, and Missouri (my home state), but this is my Florida rant. Here are my top eight reasons why Florida sucks and how it needs to get its act together before I can even think about returning there.


1- Admit to Florida's original sin of slavery. The top third of Florida enables essentially the same culture as its northern neighbors of Georgia and Alabama. Its economy was built on cotton and slave labor, and its racism and nuttiness can best be seen in its most visible politician, Matt Gaetz, the US Representative from the panhandle. While Hispanics have moved into Southern Florida, the northern part is still dominated by whites, and they are about as woke as Representative Gaetz. When Donald Trump was campaigning in Panama City Beach, he asked the crowd how to stop illegal immigrants. "Shoot them" was a cry from the crowd, to which Trump replied "Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement." And everybody applauded and laughed.

Northern Florida is not unique in this regard. Jim Crow was strong all over the region. But at some point the power structure in Florida needs to recognize its original sin and deal with it meaningfully and honestly.


2- Stop using illegal immigrants to harvest the orange crop while demonizing them at the same time. Florida's conservative leaders love to put down immigrants, both legal and illegal. They reap the benefits of an us vs them narrative. But the dirty truth is that the number one Florida crop, oranges, is mostly harvested by low-paid temporary immigrants from Latin America, at least half of whom are thought to be illegally in the country. The state tries to have it both ways by getting cheap labor for its cash crop while using fear of immigrants to justify treating those laborers unfairly while exploiting them.

Florida's citrus crops bring in an estimated $7 to $10 billion dollars a year into its economy. It would be nice to read that the people who actually pick the oranges were sharing in that bounty and treated like decent human beings.


3- Deal with climate change. You would think that the state that's the most exposed to the ocean, to hurricanes, and to predicted impacts of climate change would be at the forefront of dealing with it, but you'd be wrong. Governor Rick Scott removed all mention of climate change in all state dealings when he took over in 2011, and the state rewarded him by electing him to the US Senate in 2018. Florida's conservative politicians have opposed all attempts to deal with climate change in Florida or anywhere else, even though high tides are already flooding some Florida streets and they ran out of names in 2020 for hurricanes and had to start using Greek letters.

For most of us, if your home is flooded you're out of luck. But in most of the coastal communities of Florida they rely on federally subsidized flood insurance, because no private insurer would dare to insure a home by the beach with climate change looming. And who lives in these beautiful beachfront properties? The richest of the wealthy Floridians, all of whom get their lifestyle generously subsidized by the rest of us while they enjoy their ocean views.

The average hurricane is estimated to cause $28 Billion dollars in damage, much of which is handled by FEMA and the federal government, but still people insist on living in low-lying and vulnerable areas, only to be bailed out repeatedly in some cases. The fact that many of these same people deny the reality of climate change so that they can enjoy the same carbon-rich lifestyle unencumbered is mind-boggling.


4- Tax your citizens and not the tourists. Florida has no state income tax- a fact they gleefully advertise to residents of other states. So how do they pay for things? How is it Florida residents can pay no income tax while New York residents, many of whom vacation in Florida, pay up to 10%? Instead of income tax, Florida relies mainly on sales taxes to fund much of its budget. Most of those sales taxes hit tourists who make up much of the state's economy, and they also act as a regressive tax that hits poor Floridians harder than the rich.

In addition, Florida, like most Southern states, takes in more federal money than it pays out, but it's hardly unique in that regard. The top five states that are the most dependent on federal money are New Mexico, Alaska, Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia, of which all but Alaska have state income taxes.


5- Give credit to California for your great theme parks. When people think of Orlando, they think of Disney World, Seaworld, and Universal Studios. three theme parks that make up a huge part of Florida's tourism industry. What Floridians forget is that all three parks rely on content and ideas from other states, especially California. Disney World was dreamed up by Walt Disney after Disneyland in California took off. Universal Studios also originated in California, as did Seaworld. Most conservative Floridians mock the multicultural, liberal state of California that they depend upon for their tourist attractions. There is nothing original about Florida's theme parks, and I would be much more impressed if they came up with their own ideas rather than borrowing those of others.


6- Get over Cuba already. Florida and Cuba are incredibly close. You can practically see Cuba from Key West. Cubans make up the vast majority of Hispanic residents in South Florida, and they've been fighting the Cuban revolution for the past 70 years. Everyone knows that Cuba has plenty of problems, and its brand of socialism has made it something of an outcast. But Cuban-Americans have turned against anything even remotely socialistic in reaction to Fidel Castro and what he did to Cuba. I don't remotely pretend to know much about the lives of Cubans or Cuban-Americans, but to turn Florida's ragged safety net into an every-man-for-himself society seems to be an overreaction to me. Forget Cuba and show me what Latin America is truly capable of.


7- Get vaccinated and wear your masks! Florida hasn't been alone in minimizing the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they've been among the leaders in disinformation, thanks to their aspiring presidential candidate, Ron Desantis. In March of 2020, when the pandemic was just getting off the ground, Florida made things worse by refusing to regulate Spring Break crowds, guaranteeing that visitors during that time would spread the virus to each other and then bring it home with them.

Florida's government has been virulently anti-mask all throughout the pandemic, and as of this writing is well into the Delta variant filling up its hospitals because of its intense political and anti-science leanings. And while the hospitals fill up the state is passing more laws forbidding schools from mandating masks for their students, something both science and most other Americans agree is needed to prevent unvaccinated children from being infected.


8- Stop exploiting retirees. I have to be careful how I word this. Of course anyone who has earned a nice retirement should be able to go to a sunny place with nice beaches, but Florida has taken the idea and robbed the nation of its elderly while building a retirement haven on steroids.

Up until about 100 years ago, when people retired they mostly stayed put, joining multi-generational family units that lived near each other. The elderly got to know their grandchildren and spend time with them while giving back to their community by volunteering when they felt like it. But then the geniuses in Florida decided to create the myth of their state as a dreamy retirement destination, full of golf courses, bingo parlors, and senior centers that beat anything that could be created up North. And grandma and grandpa came, played, and died there.

Seniors barely got to know their grandchildren even though they lived a lot longer, but they got a great tan. All that money, knowledge, and expertise that they accumulated in a lifetime, that could have gone back into their family and community, instead went into bigger and bigger high rises by the beach that are now threatened by climate change.


Florida was blessed with a glorious climate and one of the longest, most beautiful shorelines in the world. They have squandered these blessings on a failed state that denies science, exploits tourists, the elderly, and the poor and presents very little that is new or inspiring to the rest of the world. They rely on suckers from up North for their ideas and tax dollars, and wait for bailouts from federal flood insurance when the inevitable hurricanes hit.

Hopefully Northerners and international tourists are taking note of all this and will hold them to account. It's the only way to get them to improve.

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