On Tuesday I witnessed a travesty of justice, a blatant attempt at voter suppression. By a vote of 3-2, the Hernando County Commission narrowly approved the plan of Shirley Anderson, Hernando County's beloved Republican supervisor of elections, to combine several voting precincts in the name of saving a few thousand dollars.
This is particularly egregious in the case of two precincts. She has managed to allow only one polling location for the entire city of Brooksville to survive by, among other things, closing two precincts with long and storied histories.
One of those being closed is Precinct 11 and its polling location in South Brooksville. South Brooksville is a low-income, mostly African-American area where the voters have been able to walk to their polling location on Election Day for decades in order to cast their ballots. They will now be faced with getting to the new location that is on the other side of town in order to do so. This will be a major effort for many of them. Walking is not an option.
Precinct 26 is in Cloverleaf Farms. This is even farther away from the new polling location at Tom Varn Park. Here the residents are used to walking or riding their golf carts to their clubhouse to vote on Election Day. Ms. Anderson is once more inflicting a serious hardship on the voters of Hernando County in an effort to save a few dollars in order to placate her bosses.
The right to vote is the pivotal right that is guaranteed to all Americans. To make it more difficult to exercise that right is nothing less than un-American. We (Ms. Anderson in particular) should be finding ways to expand the vote, not ways to further restrict that right. She should be spending money if necessary to expand the opportunity to vote, not trying to squeeze a few dollars out of her budget in order to look good to her superiors.
The voters in the affected precincts should have been at the commission meeting to make their voices heard. Instead the only voices expressing opposition to this attack on their voters' rights were those of Democrats defending their voting rights: Steve Zeledon, chair of the Hernando County Democratic Party; Jimmy Lodato, Democratic candidate for county commission; Paul Douglas, president of the county chapter of the NAACP; and several other Democrats of note. Diane Rowden, the only Democrat on the commission, was adamant in her opposition to the motion to approve this dastardly plan. Republican Jim Adkins, to his credit, also voted no. Commissioners Wayne Dukes, Nick Nicholson and Chairman Dave Russell shamefully voted to go ahead with this attempt at voter suppression.
Saving the world
When will America stop trying to save the world from itself?
We went to war in the 1940s to save the world from the tyranny of Germany and Japan, we went into Korea to preserve the democratic South Korean nation, which still exists to this day, we went into Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism, which could not be accomplished because our citizens did not support our efforts.
Then we went into Iraq to bring democracy to this nation. Anyone have any idea what's going on in Iraq these days? Now we are engaged in Afghanistan trying to bring democracy to this nation.
Do you think democracy will exist after we are gone? How many lives of our youth do we have to sacrifice before we understand these people do not want our help.
Sure, there are those who wish to have the freedom to live in a democracy, such as the young girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for wanting to go to school and learn, but do you think her ordeal will really make a difference.
Do you think the hundreds of young American lives will make a difference. And now we are considering getting involved in Syria's civil war. Do we really know those we are supposedly supporting?
If they overcome the current regime, will they be America's allies or just another repeat of what is happening in Iraq, and soon to happen in Afghanistan when we leave? It is time for America to worry about America and do whatever it takes to protect our citizens.