Desmond Meade is the face of the Florida movement to restore voting rights to some previously convicted felons who have served their time and are disenfranchised by the state. He serves as the head of the “Florida Rights Restoration Coalition” and “Floridians for a Fair Democracy”. All of which advocate for the passage of Amendment 4 – the November ballot initiative that would restore voting rights to people who have served their time for felony offenses… except charges involving murder or sex offenses.
Both the ironically named “Floridians for a Fair Democracy” and FRCC claim they are “committed to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions.” But that is untrue. By virtue of their categorical exclusion of certain offenses, they, by definition, discriminate. How is that fair?
Meade, who had previously done prison time and has a history of drug, aggravated battery and firearm offenses, would like to have you think he’s one of the “good felons” who are deserving of having his rights restored, while the population he seeks to throw under the bus are not as deserving as he is. In fact, according to US Government Statistics, over two-thirds (76.9%) of state drug offenders released from state prison were rearrested within five years and violent offenders recidivate more that most non-violent offenders, while the recidivism rate for sex offenses ranges around only 5%! So Mr. Meade is hypocritically asking to restore the right to those with astronomically higher recidivism rates than those significantly less likely to reoffend! And if that was not hypocritical enough he writes in a letter to the community “When a debt is paid, it’s paid”. What he really means is that it is paid only when he pays it, and not someone else less likely to reoffend. If that is not the definition of hypocritical what is?
We have asked Mr. Meade repeatedly why his discriminatory stand and we wondered why Mr. Meade was so prejudiced against a certain class of former felon. One clue came when we realized that he formerly served on the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust Board with Ron Book. It started to make more sense to us.
For a long time the Florida Action Committee stood silent on Amendment 4, but we have reached our boiling point. In a recent mailer sent by Floridians for a Fair Democracy to generate support for Amendment 4, Mr. Meade, felt it necessary, in bold font nonetheless, to highlight that his measure excludes sex offenders and murderers. Sad!
Mr. Meade and his organizations are hardly committed to ending discrimination and are anything but for a “fair” democracy.
Anyone who feels it necessary to so aggressively step on other people in order to make themselves appear bigger, perhaps is not all that deserving of civil rights after all!
Below is a copy of the letter sent to Floridians for a Fair Democracy: