We truly are the meme state. Most articles that mention Florida start out with, “Florida Man…,” followed by whatever asinine or insane act this Florida man did.
Florida hasn’t been taken seriously since the hanging chad — the old voting system where you would poke holes in the voting sheet to show who you wanted and where sometimes voters would not punch the “chad” all the way through — caused us to recount our votes during elections in the early 2000s. Since then, it had just all been downhill. While the Internet may make fun of the Sunshine State for the host of articles that bring up the wild antics of its inhabitants, each state has the exact same problems — they just do not publicize them as much.
In Florida, the government is relatively open about a lot of things because of the Sunshine Act. This act pretty much makes it so that all government records are public records, pretty much making us the model state for freedom of the press. Because of this act, reporters do not have to fight and file a freedom of information request every time they want to write about something the government is doing. The laws for information are extremely laid back in this state — and that is amazing. It allows for transparency and checks and balances between the government and the people who elected them.
“Florida Men” might be insane, but at least we found a way to minimize political corruption in our state and boost access to information. Can you say the same about another state?
Photo: M. Mark