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Tanner Andrews

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Tanner Andrews

Novices with guns can get into some inconvenient trouble. For instance, once one shoots himself in the foot, it slows him down. He is less able to run to the clinic to have it patched up.

Technical types used to call that sort of misdirected weapon a “foot-gun.” Someone about to do something stupid might be offered “enough ammo to get them both.” This was not an expression of confidence.

Many of the readers have noticed that Tallahassee is not far, and is a bit downhill, from Chattahoochee. They will not be surprised that the Legislature needs a lot of ammo. In Florida, the legislative term is sometimes called the “silly season,” and there is good reason.

This week’s gem is Senate Bill 2023-1248. Call it the “Ultimate Cancel Act.” They want to get rid of at least one of the major political parties. I am not sure that is entirely a bad thing, but it is blatantly unconstitutional.

They propose to direct the Division of Elections to unlist the Democratic Party, and to have those so registered changed to No Party Affiliation.

The trigger is the language: “if the party’s platform has previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude.”

Easy, right? In the 1850s, Democratic pols were often in favor of slavery. So the proposed act might seem to make sense.

At least it does until you think back not quite so far. Looking back to the 2000s, I remember Chain Gang Charlie. There is no way around it: Working in a chain gang is involuntary servitude. Or looking back to the 2010s, I remember one party opposing removal of Confederate monuments.

Of course, it may seem foolish to promote a bill that could eliminate your political party. Think of it as a foot-gun writ large.

In a one-party state like Florida or Cuba, where the one party controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches, losing that party could be a problem. The government might fall apart, or sane people might accidentally get elected.

Maybe both!

Sometimes I have my doubts about whether legislators actually think about their bills — if they were really thinking, they would budget for 120 croker sacks and a boat charter just past the 3-mile limit.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.


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