Thank you, North Carolina. You’ve been good to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve returned the favor, but I’m glad to be gone. We’ve each changed over the past 40-odd years. You’ve given me lifelong friends and memories of truly wonderful experiences. But over the past few years your arrogant, selfish political meanness has shown a dark side of yourself I can no longer tolerate.

A few days ago I sold my last business in the state. I’ll soon be filing my final tax return with you. I’m glad my tax dollars will no longer be supporting a racist, power-grabbing, misogynistic legislature. I’m sad to be leaving so many friends and compatriots still in the trenches, trying to reclaim the decency and civility that made you such a wonderful place – a place I used to be proud to call home. My old home was sheltered in one of those urban blue dots you myopically see as a blemish on your gerrymandered crimson maps. One of those places that drive your economic engine. If you’d been a bit more tolerant you might still be getting my money.

In the beginning our separation wasn’t intentional, it was a temporary parting like several others we’ve had through the years. You always had my roots and I always returned. This time it’s different. It’s been almost four years to the day since I sold my North Carolina home to begin a new life. Now I’ve cut the last physical and financial ties that bound me to you. My path through the future is looking good and you’re not a part of it. I doubt you’ll miss me. I know I won’t miss the embarrassment of an association with you.

Am I abandoning my past? Of course not. My past is the foundation I’ve built that’s allowing me to take this step. The people, places, good, bad and ugly parts of my life have made me who I am. They’ve created ties to wonderful friends who I’ll stay in touch with in my future. Your landscape is beautiful and welcoming – as are nearly all of the people I’ve come to know there through the years. But something’s changed. A spirit of tolerance, of disagreeing in an agreeable manner and a willingness to compromise in the spirit of friendship and respect – they’ve all evaporated into teenage bullying that never questions why something should or shouldn’t be done as long as it guarantees a juvenile grip on power.

I’m not running away from home, I’m walking comfortably into a wonderful future that just doesn’t include you. Because life isn’t about where you’ve been, it’s where you are and where you’re going.

Thanks for the memories.