Guest Posts on Life in Trump Country, Part 3: Florida Wants to Be Blue, But Can't Help But Be Red

(Today, I saw an anti-Brexit rally in Trafalgar Square with thousands of people cheering to stay in the EU. Meanwhile, in the United States, we're still bumblefucking our way through the Trumpocalypse. Here's a perspective on that from Paul in Florida. Note: He has chosen to use a lowercase "t" in "Trump.")

I've lived in Florida since my family moved to stay back in 1976. Dad just retired from the Navy,  and we moved close to where my mom's parents were. Since then, through college and into work and now into my 40s, the Sunshine State is all I can remember ever living in.

Some parts of Florida are relatively low-key about politics, or at least there's enough diversity among the people that you aren't drowned by the far right stuff. But it's there. You'll see the anti-abortion billboards in the smaller-populated counties up north, or along I-4 in the central corridor where a lot of evangelical and hard-right Protestant churches gathered during the 1980s population boom.

When trump started his campaign, there just seemed to be a shift in the mood. It may have been I grew more sensitive about it, but I started seeing more super-trucks driving around with the CBF whipping from the payloads. This was also when I noticed the bizarre exhaust pipes those trucks had, which issued black smoke and bad odors every time they revved out at a stoplight. I finally found out about Coal Rollers, which truckers had to waste money on to make their engines belch out more carbon shit all to piss off any hippie treehuggers in their midst. It's insane, and it explained the mindset of a trump voter so perfectly.

I did notice about five people on my Facebook pages - I follow them because of local activities - suddenly getting more open about their anti-Obama views. After November, one of them got so vulgar about it - posting the racist photos and memes floating out there - I finally had to defriend him. I hadn't had to do that in four years (I try to be respectful with the FB friends with differing political views, and engage when there's corrections or arguments to make, but I try to avoid the whole blocking thing).

Part of the problem of living in trump Country is having to live in a state that is of two minds about politics: the population leans Democratic overall, but terrible voter turnout - either from apathy or the twisted gerrymandering that's hampered Florida for decades - keeps the Republicans in power at the state level, and disproportionately powerful in Congress and elsewhere. The Blue sides are mostly in the urban centers - South Florida, Tampa, parts of Orlando, the college town of Gainesville - but the Red areas are spread all over, giving the GOP a geographic advantage over the populace.

As a result, the voters keep pushing for smaller classroom sizes and more schools, better election districts, more funding for environmental protections (especially our Everglades and other wetlands), and other progressive issues... while the elected officials keep ignoring the referendum mandates and push their tax cuts and land development pet projects.

On a personal level, I do what I can to tune out the wingnut stuff, and stay in touch with online channels of like-minded moderates and progressives. But nearly everybody I know like that doesn't live in Florida; I keep feeling like I'm the only one here in the state struggling to fight against the ignorance and grief. I know there are others who share my views and my current sorrows, but I can't see them. And it just gets so lonely.