When Charlie Crist was Florida’s Governor, I cheered his better decisions – like semi-automatic felon rights restoration – even though some of his darker decisions often left me sobbing and others left open wounds. After reading his notes about rights restoration (below), I’m left to wonder if his worst decisions were based on misinformation provided by his gatekeepers – there’s more than one really, really bad call I made as a CEO based on bullshit presented as gospel by a trusted employee.
After Crist addressed his Cabinet/Clemency Board, the majority decided (over Bill McCollum’s objections) that rights restoration should be as automatic as possible. When Crist left office, there was a minor backlog of restoration applications awaiting one or more signature (all four cabinet members had to sign to finalize each return to full citizenship; it isn’t likely that McCollum put signing the documents at the top of his to-do list).
Crist’s final bullet point in his felon rights restoration notes was that “We should not confuse justice with revenge.”
There’s been every indication to date that Crist’s successor, Rick Scott, is strongly in favor of confusing justice with anything and everything that will put money in the pockets of his corporate cronies. The most relevant example to this post is Scott wrecking Crist’s felon rights restoration program to 1) keep persons of color away from the polls, so more people who believe in confused justice could get elected; 2) increase recidivism, which makes for a thriving #PrisonIndustrialComplex … it’s now virtually impossible for persons without funds to get one’s rights restored, and it limits job and other opportunities.
Scott wants to be elected as a US senator, and perhaps president. To achieve that, he would convince his Cabinet/Clemency Board that automatic rights restoration is the right thing to do, if he thinks there’s something in it for him. The proof of this ugly pudding is Scott pretending that he was going to accept Medicaid Expansion if reelected as our governor, campaign-claiming that his mother’s death had changed his mind on the subject. Of course, Scott didn’t keep that promise.
Scott’s Cabinet/Clemency Board pretended things to get elected, too: Adam Putnam claimed to be pro-solar; Jeff Atwater claimed he would protect Floridians’ financial interests; Pam Bondi claimed she would investigate all convictions achieved using phony dog handler John Preston.
Now they all need something new to pretend as their second terms come to a close, and they all just might be ready to pretend to be pro felon rights restoration … till election results do us part.
We don’t need to develop photographic memories so that we never vote for one of these liars ever again. What we need to do is insist that Congress bust up a mainstream media that labors to help liars bury their broken promises and achieve higher office.
And while we’re working on that, we can try to shame the likes of Scott, Putnam, Atwater and Bondi into doing the right thing for once by immediately reinstating Crist’s felon rights restoration process, retroactively. Aside from curbing recidivism, it would save a lot of administrative dollars, and possibly a lot of lives.
Martin Luther King Jr was pretty big on shaming. Wish he were here to make Scott, Putnam, Atwater and Bondi choke on Crist’s words, which became even more precious to me when I noted that Crist made one of the same dyslexic-type spelling errors I typically make in blog posts (misspelling their as thier).
The ACLU of Florida is calling for a ballot measure to accomplish felon rights restoration, even though Florida’s lousy legislators routinely make dust out of the letter and spirit of ballot measures we Floridians approve. Let’s try MLK’s way, first; let’s try shame. Please share this post. Thank you.
Governor Charlie Crist’s Clemency Board Notes on the Restoration of Felon Civil Rights, 2007
From: Restoration of Felons’ Civil Rights Speaking Points, 2007, Series 2068