Dear Palm Bay: Please Stop.

Dear Palm Bay,

It pains us in a way to have to write this because we know that in some way we contributed to it.

In our previous post discussing the ordinance on appointing / voting for a replacement to fill a vacant Council seat, we wrote:

(Oddly, the three Democrats voted for the proposal and the two Republicans voted against it.)

We wrote that because of all the statements by elected officials (even up on the dais Thursday night) who say that Republicans and conservatives are looking to strip people of their voting rights. (They aren’t but that is another story.) Part of our thought process in inserting that line was the idea that here in Palm Bay, it is not Republicans that are looking to limit people’s right to vote, but Democrats.

In the days since the meeting, we have seen more and more comments concerning “DemoRATS” and “ReTHUGlicans.”

(Somehow people think these are cute, and maybe for the first five or six billion times they were used, they were. Now they are just old and lacking any force or useful meaning.)

We were wrong to break this down along party lines. The City Council of Palm Bay is supposed to be a non-partisan legislative body. That means we aren’t supposed to be looking at electing Democrats or Republicans, but just plain people.

To try and be more clear about this, Councilmen Kenny Johnson dalliance with an underaged minor had nothing to do with his party affiliation. It had to do with his character.

Councilman Foster’s conviction of an ethics charge and lack of ability to think critically, has nothing to do with his party affiliation. It has to do with his character.

Rob Medina’s lack of adherence to the rules and laws of the land has nothing to do with his party affiliation. It has to do with his character.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey’s suppression of the rights of people and not being transparent on budgets has nothing to do with his party affiliation. It has to do with his character.

We elect people on what they tell us and then too often turn a blind eye to the actions of people in our own party.

(Quarter commemorating Rodney’s ride for Independence)

In the movie 1776, the vote on independence is teetering on the vote of the delegation from the state of Delaware. Representatives Thomas McKean and George Read were split on the vote: McKean for independence and Read against it. The third delegate, Ceasar Rodney, was back in Dover, Delaware dealing with some issues with loyalists. In order to break the tie, Rodney (who suffered from a cancer on his face) rode for 18 hours and 80 miles in a thunderstorm to get back to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. It is said that when he arrived, all people could see was mud and his spurs. He cast his vote for independence, meaning Delaware was voting for independence.

Rodney’s ride literally saved the cause of independence. Most people don’t know of it, but it was of such importance that when state coins were announced by the US Treasury, Delaware chose Ceasar Rodney and his ride to be on their quarter.

In the movie 1776, as Rodney is sitting at the Delaware delegation desk, a fight breaks out between John Adams and John Dickenson. The movie depicts the scene as a brawl, with both men swinging canes or walking sticks are each other.

Ceasar Rodney stands up – exhausted and cover in mud – and screams:

Caesar Rodney: Stop it! Stop it! This is the Congress! Stop it I say! The enemy’s out there!

John Dickinson: No, Mr Rodney, the enemy is here!

Caesar Rodney: No! I say he’s out there! England! England closing in, cutting off our air! There’s no time!

[suddenly very weak]

Caesar Rodney: No air…

The same thing is happening on this issue within Palm Bay.

The enemy is not Republicans or Democrats. (And to be all-inclusive, it is not with those who register with “no party affiliation.”)

The “enemy” are those who are elected or appointed and sit on a dais seeking to sow division while making backroom deals and violating laws and ethics. The enemy are those who say one thing and do another.

This is one of those issues where party affiliation doesn’t matter when it comes to condemning what happened on Thursday night.

Don’t believe us?

We dare you to go out and stand in front of the local WalMart, Publix, McDonalds, etc., and ask people of voting age how they feel about the City Council appointing a City Council person rather than allowing the people to vote for that replacement.

Ask them if they think that the Council should take the right to vote for elected officials away from the people.

See how the answers differ along party lines.

On Thursday night, the voices of the people of Palm Bay were across all political spectrums. As we said previously, age, race, gender, belief systems didn’t matter. As one, the people of Palm Bay said “we don’t like this.”

Now, we see that coalition – that one voice – being shattered along party lines.

It is counter-productive. As someone said the other night, an elected official from X-Party doesn’t care what a person from Z-Party thinks. They care only about catering to their base.

The people of Palm Bay need to make sure that officials understand that this is not a party issue – it is rights issue and they are against what happened.

Please understand that we know there are issues that do divide along party lines.

This doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Please stop trying to divide Palm Bay on this. Speak, shout, and write as one like you were on Thursday.

The enemy is out there – cutting off our air….

….cutting off our rights.

One Response to “Dear Palm Bay: Please Stop.”

  1. Ron Lockwood says:

    Mr. Afterwit, To have our freedoms removed is most definitely, a travesty. Our right to vote being removed for any reason is a non-partisan issue.
    It seems more likely this move was orchestrated by back room politics as in the past and by convenience, these three who chose this no vote path are backed by Brevard Democrats.
    The unfortunate cancer we face here in Palm Bay is also a cancer that has divided us over the years in State and Federal Politics-not just local venues. Many belly up to their party’s beliefs as its easier then having a conversation of compromise and as a nation-as a state-as a local municipality … we have chosen finger pointing and name calling rather than compromise and negotiation; all part of a working democracy in my belief. It’s so much easier standing behind a party affiliation and blaming the other for bad decisions-lousy choices and I’m so glad I’m on this side of the battle.
    As you stated…The “enemy” are those who are elected or appointed and sit on a dais seeking to sow division while making backroom deals and violating laws and ethics. The enemy are those who say one thing and do another.
    The enemy are those who we entrusted to do our bidding based on their promises, their claimed ethics while campaigning, their handshakes of trust me while making eye contact. Then, faced by their own constituents-ignoring each speaker who spoke against removing voter rights simply tears away the very fabric of trust and the value voters gave these elected officials. To add insult to injury, have one councilman explain voter rights ad-nauseum in an effort to provide his reasons for voting against the public’s wishes was perfect placed contempt. Instead, his time should have been used to explain how he broke sunshine laws in back-room antics to allow his and fellow law breakers to maintain their agenda needs to finality.
    This issue isn’t a my party/your party issue. Instead, it is abominable and egregious behavior. Insulting to the Palm Bay residents and business owners who are required to suck it up once again by Self-absorbed, Self-appointed monarchs who truly belong in a Game of Thrones episode instead of our local government. Most certainly, our trust beckons a response and hopefully, one of recourse. Our response should be collectively in agreement without claiming where the donkeys and elephants lie dormantly.
    It is in our American Character to have the right to vote…