So many columnists today seem to fancy themselves an early Dave Barry but come off as a later Carl Hiaasen; mostly a “man yells at cloud” meme come to life. Being born at the outset of the Reagan years, I doubt I could be mistaken for an angry Boomer. I’m old enough to have made calls on a rotary dial phone, but young enough to have downloaded DMB live sets on Napster.
Having always been more of an optimist, I’m certain I don’t want to give the readers just another dose of cynicism dolled up as wisdom.
Organizing my thoughts, I went back through some of my oldest letters, and I found a bit from 2008 that hit home:
I receive questions…about how I would vote on some single issue, yet this is an enormous disconnect from the concerns that I hear door-to-door with the voters. They have lost faith in their parties and their leaders. They are eager for someone whom they can trust; who understands that our fiscal crisis is a problem of priorities, not revenue; that our institutional failings are a problem of attitude, not funding; and that our loss of freedom and prosperity is a problem of our own making.
No matter how soured our political discourse might become, I want this column to always focus on the ways we can solve problems. Voters ultimately get the government we deserve, and I want us to deserve better than most of what we get today. I’m optimistic that we still can, and I want to capture the eager energy I meet door to door.
We are watching the old 20th Century political order fall away, while the ceaseless growth wrought by Industrial Revolution is maturing to middle age. Those changes will lead us to plenty of meaty issues: term limits, gun rights, the decline and fall of republics, etc. These are the things I want to explore with you: where we’ve been, where we are and where I hope we are going.
I made my first #2lanetravels Twitter post on May 3, 2014. It was the end of my fourth session, and I had developed a habit of traveling back and forth to Tallahassee from Fort Myers without ever using the Interstate. I wanted to capture a snapshot of that experience and it set me on a course to explore corners of Florida that I’d never seen before. It was a terribly taken picture of Orange Avenue in Floral City and completely failed to capture the ambiance of this quaint town located along a two-lane US 41. Floral City was laid out in 1883 and boomed with phosphate mining prior to World War I. Head west on Highway 48 from I-75 and find this sleepy gem in Citrus County.
Matt Caldwell served in the Florida House from 2010-2018 and is currently serving as the Lee County Property Appraiser. He covets your criticisms and your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.