Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Open Letter to Governor Rick Scott

I see that you and Governor Crist are both running ads about your former legal problems with Medicare fraud.  As a voter, I did not hold that against you four years ago.  I figured that it was unfair to judge you for something that happened a long time ago without looking at what you’ve done in the meantime.

This year, however, is a different story.  This year, I’m inclined to hold it against you and refuse to vote for you specifically because of it.  And I thought it only fair to write and tell you why.

People make mistakes and should be permitted to make a fresh start, but on the condition that they cut other people who make mistakes the same slack.  That is the whole point of Matthew 7:2, which says that you will be held accountable to the same standard to which you hold other people.  And throughout your administration, you have refused to show the same grace and compassion to other people who have made mistakes that was shown to you.

One of your first acts after taking office was to lengthen the time that felons have to wait before they can petition to have their civil rights restored.  We both know that the only reason you’re not a convicted felon is that you had a lot of money to pay some very good lawyers to keep you out of jail.  It would be really nice if you could understand that people who didn’t have the money to avoid the legal consequences of their actions might like a fresh start too, and to give them a speedy opportunity to demonstrate that they, too, deserve a second chance.

 You have opposed restoring the right to vote to felons who have served their sentences, even though giving them a stake in their communities is far more likely to help make them productive citizens than making them pariahs will.  You have supported increasing the misery level for convicted sex offenders even though our ridiculously broad definition of sex offender sweeps up many people who pose no real threat to anyone else.  And you have signed death warrants at an even faster rate than your predecessor did.

 All of these show a common theme:  Everyone except you who screws up is not to be given a second chance, is not to be shown compassion, is not to be permitted a second chance.

 And if that’s your belief – that people who make mistakes don’t deserve second chances – then that’s fine, but that standard then has to apply to you as well.

 So, because of your history of Medicare fraud, I will not be voting for you.  Ever.

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