We are being told these days to eat our peas and take personal responsibility.
Want a job now that you’ve been laid off? Get a new one stocking shelves for minimum wage.
Can’t make the mortgage because you’re making minimum wage?
Figure it out or lose the house. Move in with your cousin and her kids.
Want to go to college? Go into hock.
Got cancer and can’t get health insurance? Pray.
Getting unemployment? Food stamps? Medicaid? You’re just lazy.
Want to vote? Jump through these hoops.
Show your driver’s license. Don’t have one? Get one. Don’t drive? Get an ID card. Can’t afford the $48 for the license or $25 for the ID? Tell yourself these fees don’t constitute a poll tax. Too old? Too young? Too poor? Too dark? Speak Spanish? We don’t want you. Want to help people register so they can participate in politics? Keep your nose out of it. After all, voting is the privilege of the deserving. Think instead voting is a right? There you go, feeling entitled again.
If this rigmarole wasn’t designed to keep people from voting, the Legislature would have set aside money to help make it easier for people to get the identification they need. Lawmakers would have cut the fees or eliminated them. Isn’t that what they do for corporations? They would have let groups like the League of Women Voters register people again. Isn’t that a case of people taking responsibility? They would have given up nosing under the rug for voting fraud that doesn’t exist. They would have let early voting continue full blast. Here’s an annoying factoid: in one important slice of the politically crucial I-4 corridor—Tampa—at least 16 percent of voters voted early in the 2010 election that put those Tea Party darlings in charge in Tallahassee so they could take their state and country back. Not your state. Not your country. So deal with it, will you?
Mary Jo Melone, former columnist with the Tampa Bay Times, is a writer in Tampa.
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