Florida Governor Rick Scott has decided what is right and is quite content to let the rest of Americans deal with his choice. He is tampering with the voter rolls in Florida.
The values he states are admirable, “We just want fair elections”, he told the SunshineState News. Huffington Post says, “Scott said the push to remove ineligible voters was needed to ensure that legitimate voters did not have their ballots diminished.” We can all get behind these ideas – that’s why he is stating them – and not the policy that will “accomplish” this in his view. It is true, we all do want fair elections. What is not agreed on is the methods of achieving fairness.
The federal Dept. of Justice has an issue with what the Governor is calling “fair”. There have been laws created to help codify what is fair for the whole nation – Gov. Scott is breaking one of those basic laws – the one that says you can’t start messing with voter rolls with 90 days or less before an election. The obvious reason on face value is that once parties can see how races are shaping up and can predict voter behavior, it becomes a delicate task to begin trying to “clean up” a system in a complete, timely, and fair manner.
Florida is already notorious for the debacle of election judging that handed the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore. Nightmarish scenes of overworked and (literally) cross eyed election judges holding butterfly ballots up to the light to determine how “hung” a chad is, still play across our national (and international) landscape. Those votes, the counting of those votes, and the Supreme Court’s decision impacted the fate of this country and planet tremendously.
Gov. Rick Scott exhibits all of the hallmark “strict father” characteristics of a conservative. He believes he is the supreme leader of the land, he is infallible, and the rest of us are subject to his decisions. In this case, the entire nation – and world – are subject to his decisions. This attitude was demonstrated clearly by George W. Bush as “the decider” and his cowboyd, “Bring ’em On” attitude. The attitude does not respect democracy and the fact that the Federal Government has to sue the state of Florida because of this rogue attitude, says that Gov. Scott does not respect that he is actually part of a collective.
Many conservatives seem to have lost sight of this fact: the United States is a collective union.
I know some conservatives may have done a spit take at that last line, or tried to make it go away with a head shake, it is worth repeating:
The United States is a collective union!
It’s like holy water on a demon, I can hear it sizzling. Conservatives do not (ideologically) like unions; they do not (ideologically) like collectives. If that little old lady in your church is eating cat food because she’s so poor – the conservative point of view is to let her starve and die – “every man for himself!” style, right?
Wrong. Only the most callous, psychopathic, black hearted people look at the weak and vulnerable in society and say, “it serves them right!” Only the most selfish and naive folks think that they’re perfect and everyone else is simply lazy. Only those living with tunnel vision can truly believe that everything they have achieved was done completely alone.
That is why it is a misnomer to think that even half of our country are practicing conservatives. Maybe certain parts of our lives are – how we live our lifestyle, what spiritual path we choose, the way we run our families – but mostly we are a part of one collective after another. In work, school, church, community, city, county, state, and country, we are happily a part of the collective.
So why do we vote for the George W.’s, the Rick Scott’s? Because they are leaders and these are uncertain times. We are busy, ignorant, and uninterested in much of the detail that governs our daily lives. We may get excited about big elections, but most of us do not attend our city council meetings, do not follow legislation, do not contact our reps, and do not remember how officials voted on crucial matters. We rely on our extremely biased, bought and paid for media to raise a stink about the issues we care about, then we want to follow a decisive leader that seems confident.
In other words, when the bottom line of voting is still about money, we tend to want to err on the side of those with money. This makes some sort of sense in a business situation, it makes no sense in a democracy. A democracy’s “goal” is about process – not product. This may make capitalists crazy, but it’s true, the “bottom line” of democracy is how well the people think they are being represented.
Back to Florida Governor Rick Scott, his claim of diluting the eligible vote may be true, but he is not putting as much weight on those eligible voters that may be denied their vote. His purge is very one sided and appears to be partisan. Indeed the purge has taken eligible voters, even a 91 year old veteran of WWII off the rolls. This is why the timeliness relates to the story. With time, a truly fair assessment of the voter rolls would not cause unfixable mistakes.
Gov. Scott points to new data that shows 50 people ineligible voters voted (out of 11 or 12 million), he points out how they did something illegal. I’m wondering if he has chosen to use the laws on the books and charge those voters? I also wonder how many people will show up to vote and find out that they have been declared a non-citizen by their Governor.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Gov. Scott seems to forget that the entire reason he has so much power in this moment, is because he is a union member. If he were the king of the kingdom of Florida, he could eliminate the vote, have one party rule, and make things up as he went along. He’s not. He’s a leader in our country that has actually forgotten that We the People actually stand at the top of this hierarchy. If he can’t abide by the rules that the rest of the states must when electing a president, he risks the votes of his entire state, which risks our very union. He risks the union of the states.
Are We really ready to throw in the towel? Not this citizen.
Gov. Scott, play fair, play nice, mind the referee or risk ejection…or worse.