Five minutes ago I had no intention of posting this entry. I was doing a google search for “Charlie Crist civil unions,” to see if I could find any references to Crist’s favorable stand on civil unions (to make me feel better about a comment on another blog). I knew our Republican governor had spoken favorably about them in the past… sort of, but I was hoping to inoculate myself against looking stupid. Futile, I know, but I figured I had to try.
I came up with a mixed bag of stuff, including some of the gubernatorial campaign comments I thought I’d recalled, but I also came across a Salon article that caught my eye.
The point of the piece was Crist’s move to restore the voting rights of Florida felons who’d served their time (one of a couple progressive moves our surprisingly liberal governor has backed). I’d heard some stories over the years that Crist REALLY didn’t get along with Jeb! (If you lived in Florida during the last few elections, you might think that little piece of punctuation was really part of his name.) Now that the Tuna has been governor for a while I can see why. He’s a card carrying communist compared to Dubya’s (smarter*) younger brother.
Anyway, even that little nugget o’ news didn’t surprise me – I’d read all about it in the local news while it was happening. No, what really surprised me was this (Salon.com):
Voting-rights activists say that there are about 950,000 felons in Florida who have served their time but are currently ineligible to vote — making up roughly 9 percent of the state’s voting-age population, and more disenfranchised felons than in any other state.
It really shouldn’t have been a big surprise, since I share a roof with an employee from the Department of Corrections. Still, after hearing those recent stats reported in the news recently about the number of adults in the U.S. currently incarcerated (just under one out of a hundred), one out of nine was a little startling. Again, it shouldn’t be that suprising. Naturally, there are going to be more convicted felons than the number of current inmates. Convicted felons remain convicted felons when they’re released. Still, I think it would be appropriate to quote one of my favorite characters on the Wire, “sheeeeeeeeeeeit.” I don’t care what your political affiliation is, more than ten percent of adults ineligible to vote is a big freakin’ number.
If Charlie isn’t careful, I may have to stop calling him Chain-gang Charlie (from his days in the Florida legislature when he pushed through a bill that brought chain-gangs back to Florida prisons).
* Doesn’t say much, does it?