Last Wednesday, Florida Governor, Rick Scott and his cabinet, acting as the board of executive clemency, unanimously approved new rules which requires that criminally convicted non-violent felons to wait a minimum of 5 years after they have completed parole and paid restitutions before they can apply to have their voting rights restored. Convicted violent felons have to wait 7 years and must have a hearing to determine if their rights can be restored.
So, you are telling me even after these individuals have served their time and paid their dues, they still have to wait an additional 5 to 7 years before they can petition to get back their most basic right, which is the right to vote. Scott and cronies, (All republicans, I might add) dropped this bomb after only 30 minutes of public hearings, which were limited to 2 minutes per person, and they didn’t make the rules available for review until minutes before the vote would be decided. If this isn’t a racist move aimed at perpetuating black voter disenfranchisement, I don’t know what is. Scott, who himself should be listed as a felon for his companies crimes against the taxpayer and the Medicaid system, and his cohorts should be held accountable for this blatant attack on the Bill of rights and democracy itself.
He has been in office for, what 6 months, and basically the first thing he does is to bring back restrictions that were used in the past to keep newly freed slaves from becoming members of our democratic society! Some have dubbed this a return to “Jim Crow” era politics and I agree. Why the sudden reversal of automatic restitution of rights? That is the question that we all should be asking ourselves and then go out and demand that Scott answer us. This question was posed to Rick “Jim Crow” Scott and he basically said “seemed reasonable”. Is that a reasonable answer for one of our elected officials who is supposed to represent all Floridians. Should there not have been more of a discussion on the matter, since it does have such a huge impact on his constituents and their relatives. It would seem that a discussion is not what they wanted. Jim Crow era legislation is exactly what they want, as to keep a large number of individuals who more often than not would vote, if and when allowed, democrat. That is the only reason I can see an all republican board and governor would take this type of action.
With a very important election race coming up in 2012, that will determine who our next Commander-in-Chief will be, this seems a little odd. Why is the voting right of felons your main concern in the State of Florida. A state mind you that in the past have determined the outcome of several Presidential elections, by vote and by judicial ruling (say thank you George W. Bush). Why would you want to have this voting extra voting block in the mix. A block of votes that would could very well unseat all of the republicans, especially if they actually get their rights back and go out and vote. Do you know the change that they could affect in our society, the power they would have. That is a very scary thought for people who are grasping and clawing for power. So they came up with these new restrictions on voting rights to basically make it difficult, if not impossible, for felons to become productive members of society again. They can pay taxes, but they can’t vote. Wasn’t this country founded on a principal of “No taxation, without representation”? Who then is representing that group of individuals? Are we also going to limit their paying of taxes, as well? Rick, that’s also reasonable, why was there no discussion about that.
I am just going to come out and say it, Rick “Jim Crow” Scott is the worst thing that has happened to Florida, since well Jeb “Leave all the black kids behind” Bush. Scott’s ideas on education, welfare reform, and now felon voter rights are just not good for Floridians. His ideas on education are to rate teachers based on the performance of their students. Now this would be okay, if all students learned the same and all schools were funded the same. Since they are not, standardized, or what I like to call bastardized, testing does not accurately rate how well a teacher is teaching and therefore should only be a small part of the rating scale, not the end all be all of it.
Is there a pattern here? What are these republicans trying to do? They are dumbing down our kids by solely preparing them to take a standardized test and not preparing them for college and the real world because they don’t want us to be educated, if our kids are not educated they cannot question them and if they are discouraged and turn from education where else will they turn but to the streets and then to a life of crime. Is this a two-pronged attack on the black community to impose these standardized tests on us that we are disproportionately failing, discouraging us so we turn to crime and become felons and then lose our rights, affectively enslaving us.
Well, I say to you Rick “Jim Crow” Scott and anyone else who may be planning any form of injustice against the black community. “The chains you plan for us, are the chains you’ll rot in!” (In my Ms. Celie voice)