Despite all of your faults — I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed growing up with you. To some, this is probably saying a lot. Your climate is what I like to describe as that of Satan's personal death sauna, you consistently house truly bizarre humans, and, oh yes, there's that whole Florida messing up the presidential election thing that tends to happen every so often. Yes, if someone sends me a link to a disturbing and out-of-the-ordinary crime, I can usually guess that it took place in Florida. But when people ask me (and they often do), "What is it with Florida?" I usually just shake my head like your my crazy relative who I disagree with on almost all moral principles but still, you know, love. Mostly. I lived in you for 14 years, after all.
The Florida I know is a nice place with nice people. You're where I grew up and went to college. You're the place I call home at the end of the day, and where I genuinely enjoy returning to multiple times a year. But, for the love of God, Florida, don't you think it's about time that you got your sh*it together? On election night this year, I was prepared for a back-and-forth battle. But for some reason that is lost to me, I thought that, you, the most bizarre state in the country would still, somehow, avoid voting for the most bizarre presidential candidate in American history. Does that make sense? Maybe not. But, at the end of the day, I still had hope.
To me, Florida, you're like that unpredictable friend that I still love — you want them to do the right thing, and you know you they have it in them. But they still manage to disappoint you. Every. Damn. Time. The thing about this election is that the choice of who to vote for went beyond a Democrat versus Republican decision. This was a common sense decision. An only one option even makes any sense whatsoever decision. An only one person is qualified and not a racist, sexist, divisive demagogue decision.
The people I know who live in you, Florida, aren't all Democrats or all Republicans. They're everywhere on the map, but they're all good, intelligent, kind people. They're all, for the most part, people I love deeply or people who have taught me the most important things in life. And, yet, here we are. With the majority of people who live in you making a decision that could deeply, gravely affect the direction of our country and the trajectory of human rights.
Are you the be-all, end-all of the election? Not necessarily. Common sense could still prevail, with or without you, but it doesn't change the fact that it's disappointing to see a state that means so much to me collectively screw things up for the rest of us. It's disappointing to hold a place so close to my heart that, as a whole, made a decision that could be so destructive in terms of how this election plays out.
When I meet other people from you here in New York, it's a decidedly unifying thing. It's solid and comforting common ground to both be from a slightly quirky place because, deep down, we know that at its core, you're an amazing melting pot of people, and a wonderful place to live. True Floridians know that, sure, you're a little weird — but still something special.
But so help me, Florida, this is not OK. And it's not necessarily the people who voted Republican that bother me, despite the fact that I find it problematic personally. It's the third party supporters. For the more than 250,000 of you who thought you were making some kind of statement by voting third party, I am truly ashamed. I am horrified that the idea of "making a statement" or choosing to "opt out" of this election somehow won out. Somehow won out over the fact that voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein did nothing but make Donald Trump as president a more real possibility. It's disgusting, and it's embarrassing, and it's not reflective of the Florida I thought I knew.
Despite this election, and every election in the past that has disappointed me, I will still, despite it all, believe that you can pull through on the side of common sense. And as for me, come serial killers and hurricanes alike, I'll still go back to that place I call home. I will love you forever, Florida. But right now? Right now, it's just a little complicated.