I'm new to Florida, barely a month into my tenure as a staff writer at Orlando Weekly. But like a greyhound, I'm fresh out of the chute and racing around the track that is the Sunshine State's political landscape – reporting, writing, attempting to understand what the hell a "Florida Man" really is.
But I get it, I think. I understand that the only true Florida Man is you. And with the year 2018 just around the corner and the twilight of your gubernatorial career setting like yesterday's sun, I can't help but wonder what could have been between us, between a conservative politician and an admittedly liberal reporter, between Florida man and me.
I know some don't share my regret at seeing you go, but I was sad when I realized how much I missed out on.
Goodbyes are always the hardest, which is why I'd rather thank you, instead.
But where to start when it comes to a revolutionary such as yourself, Gov. Scott?
Do I thank you for always falling in line behind President Trump, for kissing his ring when the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital came to light? Was that just another example of what you called a "fresh start" for the president, such as how you lamented the firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May?
Do I thank you for your unrivaled sense of compassion, like how you called for prayers instead of legislation following the Texas church shooting that left 26 people dead in November? Because we all know Floridians – more specifically, Orlandoans – don't carry the anxiety and heartbreak that comes with the horror of a mass shooting. We understand as well as you do that what's done is done, and that perhaps the time for action is never, certainly not now.
Thank you for always taking to heart the will of the people, such as when you signed a charter school-friendly education bill into law last summer, despite the blowback from Florida's traditional public school leaders and teachers. The backroom negotiations were a clever touch too. That takes grit, Gov. Scott. What do public school teachers know anyway, right? Certainly not what it takes to better educate Florida's youth. Leave that to the lawmakers who don't deal with the matter daily, just as you have for women's reproductive rights.
Speaking of grades and guns, thank you for maintaining your spectacular average (an "A") with the National Rifle Association. As you've said in the past, using your slow-clap-worthy logic, "The Second Amendment has never shot anybody. Evil does this." Eureka, Gov. Scott. It's no wonder that the NRA asked you to speak at their convention after Trump earlier this year. You're Shakespeare's reincarnation in a pair of gator-skin boots.
And thank you for understanding that capital punishment is usually the answer, and that Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala's progressive approach, which would put Florida with 18 other states and the District of Columbia, had no chance of part of our state's future.
Lightly put, thank you for everything, Gov. Scott – not just in terms of the year 2017, but for all that you've done since taking Florida's helm in 2010. Thank you for always keeping the best interests of undocumented immigrants in mind, even if they did prove to be a thorn in your Republican side. Thank you for being pro-woman – well, pro-GOP-idea-of-a-woman – really showing those abortion providers the error of their ways and waiting until just this summer to do away with the tampon tax.
I don't mean to make you blush at this point, but thank you for being you – brilliant, bold and bald. May the sun shine brightest on you and all that is yours.
And maybe this isn't a goodbye forever, since you'll likely attempt a run for the U.S. Senate in the coming months. So I'll just say so long for now.