UPDATE: I’ve revisited the Florida question with Florida Project Redux: Redemption.
Florida is the new global epicenter for Covid-19. The state recently registered more new cases than all of Europe combined.
It’s time to recognize that the Florida project has failed. Let’s keep small populations in the old port towns of Tampa & Jacksonville, but the United States should issue mandatory orders to evacuate for everybody else. The peninsula is not suited for civilized habitation.
Let’s have this conversation. Think it’s unrealistic? Impossible is nothing. See the infographic below, and note Florida.
Even Florida hates Florida. The time is now to abort.
In fact, the accuracy of this survey in dispute. Public attitudes may be even more amenable. One user submitted his own data, below.
In addition to the old port towns, we can maintain military bases and any government research operations. Nobody’s talking about closing the Kennedy Space Center. Just everything else.
There is a whole meme about “Florida Man,” accounts of men (and sometimes women) who are exemplars of hyper-weirdness and anti-social dysfunction. Read more about the Florida man shot dead while eating a homeless man.
When I say that the peninsula is not suited for civilized habitation, I mean that Mother Nature never intended us to live there. Michael Grunwald writes in Politico Magazine:
The first Americans to spend much time in South Florida were the U.S. Army men who chased the Seminole Indians around the peninsula in the 1830s. And they hated it. Today, their letters read like Yelp reviews of an arsenic café, denouncing the region as a “hideous,” “loathsome,” “diabolical,” “God-abandoned” mosquito refuge.
“Florida is certainly the poorest country that ever two people quarreled for,” one Army surgeon wrote. “It was the most dreary and pandemonium-like region I ever visited, nothing but barren wastes.” An officer summarized it as “swampy, low, excessively hot, sickly and repulsive in all its features.” The future president Zachary Taylor, who commanded U.S. troops there for two years, groused that he wouldn’t trade a square foot of Michigan or Ohio for a square mile of Florida. The consensus among the soldiers was that the U.S. should just leave the area to the Indians and the mosquitoes; as one general put it, “I could not wish them all a worse place.” Or as one lieutenant complained: “Millions of money has been expended to gain this most barren, swampy, and good-for-nothing peninsula.”Read more at A Requiem for Florida, the Paradise That Should Never Have Been.
Complete evacuation is our opening position. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Here are other viable solutions.
Make air conditioning illegal in Florida. Instead of mandatory evacuations, you could pass laws prohibiting air conditioning. Anybody who can’t hack it in Florida without air conditioning will leave on their own accord. They don’t belong there anyway.
The United States could rescind Florida’s statehood. Make it like Washington DC, where residents are still tax-paying citizens of the United States, but with no representation in Congress or in the Electoral College. That’s a “half a loaf” compromise I’d agree to.
What about selling it off? President Donald Trump reportedly looked into selling off Puerto Rico. I’m not sure how many prospective buyers you’d get for PR alone, so why not throw in Florida? See if another country can make it work.
This post was inspired by Florida’s record in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. The title was inspired by the film, The Florida Project. If you’re not convinced, watching it may push you into agreeing that the project has failed.