Thank you, David. It is so disheartening to see a town that was once artsy and appeared to lean liberal turning rabidly conservative and noticeably redneck. Most of the artists and musicians have fled. The vegan restaurant and the 2 yoga studios are gone. We continue visiting, though less often, for the lake, parks, and food.
But, honestly, Mount Dora is indicative of Florida as a whole — insular, fearful, gun-loving, and regressive.
Gainesville, where I live, is different because of the University, but we are an island in a sea of ignorance and regression.
Sadly, I see my city slowly changing, too. People are hostile and threatening. Even this city, built on learning, education, and progress, is becoming a haven for upper-class whites. The University has become so expensive and exclusive that only the wealthy can attend. State programs that once helped disadvantaged youth afford the University were decimated by our Trump-loving previous governor. Poverty among people of color is rampant. Our public schools are stagnant and unimaginative.
And, yet, ironically, our city is one of the best communities in Florida.