In context of my work, I travel almost constantly across the various states. In doing so, it is always a pleasure to see new territory, to learn about what is happening in that area, to taste and experience the culture and to see growth. Occasionally, I travel through an area where there is no growth and almost no sense of hope. So is the case in Crystal River, Florida, where I currently am.
I’ve not seen growth here, other than a new fast food chain restaurant. It is sad to see store fronts empty, dark and almost in a sense of despair. This coastal town gives off a sense of halt – nothing is growing and it appears that nothing has grown here for a long time other than the plethora of trees, marshes, and grass. Even the hotel I am staying in has a sense of ‘almost done.’ Normally this chain is modern, clean and gives off a sense of confidence. But not this one.
This evening, after a lovely dinner at Cracker’s Bar, Grill and Tiki Lounge, we went for a drive looking for a place to do a small amount of shopping. Not the tourist kind of shopping, but the kind that we would do in any city across the United States. Nothing. We found a K Mart that was open – not exactly my type of shopping. We did not find any clothing store open, nor did we find any clothing – even at Walgreens – that wasn’t tourist clothing. I couldn’t help but wonder where the locals shop – do they have to drive a distance?
I’m not a lover of Florida – never have been. I’ve never understood the attraction to this lonely state, but by the same token, I’ve never wished anything bad upon this state. What has happened here? Is it the economy? This is a blue state meaning it votes Democrat so one would think it would be flourishing, but it isn’t. That is sad, so very sad.
Tomorrow I head further south along the coastline. I’ll be eager to see what is happening. Will I find evidence of growth and prosperity? Or, will I find more despair. I don’t know. I hope for prosperity.
As Chief Justice Roberts said a few months ago, “elections have consequences.” That is true. This is a blue state – what went wrong? Perhaps I’ll learn more tomorrow.