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COLUMN

Happytown

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Welcome to the Great Suppression! Maybe you’ve been going about your Floridian lawn-chair life just staring at the throbbing starburst on the inside of your eyelids – you know, the one that comes from looking up at the glorious sun – comfortably bathed in apathy, with an SPF of 150, that smells of crime and cocoa butter.You may have just assumed that all of those bald guys chatting on your TV screen were aliens out to upset your bottom line or topple your 11 a.m. Long Island iced tea – people you wouldn’t want to ever have creeping around your double-wide, much less counting your vote. Well, Myrtle, you can keep on baking out there with the mosquitoes, because last week’s big political news ain’t gonna matter to you at all. You, dear, are already dead.

But for the rest of us – those who did not sign off on this ridiculous legislature, those who screamed bloody murder at the sight of a corporate shill with Nosferatu tendencies coming to turn strip-mall sprawl into a theme-park ride – it was a rather dire week, indeed. As predicted, Gov. Rick Scott quietly signed into law the latest iteration of the South’s beloved Jim Crow laws by soft-shoe dancing around his office with an ink pen and HB 1355 on May 19, cackling in husky whispers about just how reducing the ability of people to vote would actually help the Florida Republican Party he has helped to maim. The blacks won’t show up! The poors will get confused! The activists will kill themselves! It’s the perfect plan!

“I want people to vote, but I also want to make sure there’s no fraud involved in elections,” Scott twiddled his nubby fingers to the St. Petersburg Times. “All of us as individuals that vote want to make sure that our elections are fair and honest.

Yeah, it’s just the getting there that’s now more unfair and dishonest. Under what is officially a new law, early voting dates have been cut in half, address changes are a clusterfuck and, naturally, activists (or Boy Scouts) hoping to register voters are now faced with a $1,000 fine should they not return their registration forms in 48 hours. Translation: Voting is for rich, white, old homeowners who already vote. Republicans! Myrtle, you hear me?

Members of the bedraggled left – who logged more than 14,000 calls of opposition to the governor’s office – were expectedly vocal in the aftermath of this injustice.

“If it weren’t so grotesquely un-American, you’d almost want to congratulate them for the audacity and efficiency of the attack,” ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon email blasted.

“It’s unfortunate that our governor signed a bill so certain to disenfranchise voters and stifle voter registration efforts. For a moment, we had hope that he might actually listen to the thousands of people who have contacted his opposition to this bill – but apparently not,” Florida Public Interest Research Group spokesman Brad Ashwell followed suit.

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