Give me a break 


Attention Floridians: The year is over and the election is over and the best man won. He won't be president, but he won.

I know, it's the holidays, we're all a little punch-drunk from Christmas, and if you're like me, you're anticipating New Year's like a chihuahua with a full bladder, so I don't want to bring you down with political stuff. You know -- the butterfly ballot, the White House being won in a shell game, the Supreme Court treating "every vote counts" as though the idea is, like, so last year. That stuff.

I'd like to be able to forgive, forget and forge ahead, but I'm not as evolved as Al Gore. I think it might be time to look at another episode in Florida history wherein some citizens of our fair state were told "screw you," and did something about it.

Back in 1982, the great city of Key West was, it felt, under siege by the federal government, which set up a blockade on the town's only artery to the mainland. Every northbound car was checked for illegal drugs and aliens, and Key Westers had to prove their U.S. citizenship before being allowed into the rest of the state. It was ruining their tourism industry.

So, led by Mayor Dennis Wardlow, they seceded from the United States, establishing themselves as the Conch Republic. Their first act was to declare war on America. They immediately surrendered and applied to the federal government for foreign aid. The roadblock was lifted. Much drinking of Rum Runners ensued.

State of denial

The idea's now worth considering by the entire state. We've already been pretty much told by the Supreme Court that our votes didn't count. They validated the hand-recounting of ballots -- just not ours, because it would cast doubt on the "legitimacy" of the Bush presidency. Of course it would, because if they counted our votes, he wouldn't be president. But Justice Antonin Scalia's sons both work for law firms that aided Bush, and justices Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist didn't want to retire until a Republican was in the White House. I can't see why they would nix the recount, can you?

But I can tell when I'm not wanted. Following Key West's example, here's a blueprint for the secession of Florida.

First, find another name. Consider The Republic of Chad. Find out it's already taken. So is Gatorland. Throw empty Diet Coke can at forehead of perky committee member who suggests Disney World. Suggestions are floated for The Republic of George W. Bush Is An Idiot and The Republic of Who the Hell Taught You to Drive?, both of which are roundly approved but will not fit on Olympics T-shirts. All names finally are put to a vote, but butterfly ballots are used and a disproportionate number of votes are cast for Wiener World. Settle on the Sacred Property of Florida, or SPF, and then knock off and have drinks by the pool.

Rules of disengagement

At the next day's strategy session, also by the pool, ask if anyone has a gun. Firearms spill out from purses, coat pockets, fannie packs, coolers and the larger toupees. Fire warning shot and declare war on U.S., then decide maybe we should make up some rules. First, shoot guy who suggested yesterday that Jimmy Buffett should be Minister of Margaritas. Suggest that six feet under is indeed a big change in latitude. Get big laughs.

Immediately stabilize economy by legalizing and taxing marijuana and adopting the marketing slogan "Screw Amsterdam!" Appoint John Travolta president because he lives part time in Florida and did such a good job in "Primary Colors." Declare Ralph Nader and all people tangentially related to the Bush family to be enemies of the state to be picked up for questioning. Questions will be mainly movie and sports trivia. Winners will be allowed to remain but must perform community service by guarding abortion clinics. They also have to wear knee cymbals so we can keep track of them. Losers will be driven to Texas to be swiftly executed.

Finally, remember to surrender to U.S. and apply for foreign aid, but find drug-driven economy is doing so well that we don't really need the money and can buy Alabama for parking. Meanwhile, in the U.S., George W. Bush has driven the economy into the ground like a fence post, has tried to get the death penalty extended to parking violations and has brought us to the brink of war with China by mispronouncing the name of one diplomat as "Some Fat Fuck." The Supremes reverse decision, recount Florida and install Gore as president, but we are wearing headphones and pretend not to hear.

Or we could just hang out for four years and anticipate how good the Letterman monologues will become. Happy New Year.


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