Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Airboat Country

 I just heard on the PBS Newshour that the big spending bill already passed by Congress is going to enable Florida to massively expand broadband to rural parts of the state.

I have been to rural Florida.

I have been to CENTRAL rural Florida.

When we lived in Boca Raton we took our daughter every year to a youth camp somewhere in Central Florida.

The one excruciatingly wonderful part of that was that we always overnighted halfway on our journey at Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales.  There was nothing on offer there that wasn't either the best, or the most interesting thing of its kind that I have ever experienced, lived in or eaten: the tiny potato rolls or the little bity cinnamon rolls; and the best filet mignon I have ever eaten was eaten at Chalet Suzanne; that was in the mid 1980's.

The mid 1980's was when the "others" had begun creeping out of their dens after a long winter sleep, a sleep induced by the success of FDR's policies and programs.

The 1980's were the era of dismantling all that prosperity in favor of trickling prosperity down - the toilet.

So, to make the toilet look good to enough people to keep Reagan in power, the right wing press and The Heritage Foundation began, in tandem, with some help from Hank Williams Jr., promoting a toxic male, gun toting version of America that would, they said, escape the toilet's flush.

That culture found its home in Central Florida.

Which leads me back to the story of our annual migration to our daughter's summer camp.

We always stopped for gas somewhere; I think it was Lakeland.

That was always a scary thing.

It was big fuel stop and the majority of the fuel stoppers were air boat toting, various sorts of seriously lethal looking gun toting bearded male Hank lookalikes.

I will say they never did anything but mutter when they saw us and they never tried to rape our daughter, but there was a chasm of asynchrony there; it reeked with possibilities of violence; culture was not matching culture.

But we always drove on, unviolated, and had a pleasant time at Chalet Suzanne and left our daughter in the moss hanging forests of central Florida.

And she had to eat chicken flatties.

So why am I telling this tale?

I am telling this tale because Florida has just passed a law that has a lot of deleterious functions: it's OK to run down protesters with your car and it's a crime with 15 years in prison to demonstrate, if those demonstrators are demonstrating in favor of police not killing black people.

I see this law as Desantis' endorsement of the Hank Williams Jr. endorsement of guns and mayhem as the new American paradigm.

So, back to the starting point of this post: I would, under no circumstances, endorse expanding broadband - and that is a slippery term - see my post on that subject, in Florida.

I would, however, endorse removing electricity.

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