by Benjamin J. Kirby
The plan this evening was to write the perfect post on the extraordinary Twitter exchanges I had today about the hospital grifter's ongoing voter purge scandal. I would post it later tonight, as I often do. This would give me all day tomorrow to graciously field the inevitable calls from the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize folks. Probably the Grammy people, too (for the spoken word version I'd have already recorded by the end of the day).
When a two year-old and a six week-old are in the house, the grand plans tend to become more... humble.
As it is, I have a daughter who can't seem to get to sleep and an infant who needed a dry diaper and now a burp that would put Norm from Cheers to shame. There are still some dirty dishes in the sink, which despite my best attempts to will it so, do not wash themselves. Somewhere in there I need to work in time to clean out the cat litter box.
This is not the stuff of Pulitzers.
Instead of writing bloggy masterpieces, I find myself rocking my baby while trying to sing lullabies my daughter. There are two songs I sing for her. I have one for Finn. Working on finding another one.
This is what I sing to Emmy a lot:
Look, when she was a baby I didn't know a lot of kids songs and this was catchy and I know the words. And when you kind of whisper-sing it -- and change out the word "shit" with the word "poop" or something -- it's pretty okay. Or it gets her to sleep at least.
And so this will not be a Pulitzer-winning post.
Too bad, because getting here was a lot of fun. It started with that tweet at the top -- a question to my friends at Progress Florida, who have just done really great work tracking and responding to this Rick Scott voter purge madness. The question was in response to a tweet that Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo -- who himself has been on the front lines of this story -- sent to a great Twitter user @Only4RM.
Caputo said: "So far only noncitizens purged in hunt." That just sounded wrong to me, so I asked the question of Progress Florida.
Here's what I got:
An unclear answer (sorry guys) from Progress Florida, and something from the widely respected and always good AP reporter Gary Fineout (@fineout), not to mention me wondering out loud why this couldn't be easier -- and another response from Marc.
To be honest, I was pretty ready to give up. I thought Marc was wrong. But I thought -- and still think -- this purge is more wrong, and rather than pick a fight with a guy whose bosses buy ink by the barrel, I'd just keep hammering on it from my little electronic corner of the world.
Then, this afternoon, this happened:
Marc Caputo filed this story at the Miami Herald, and it ran in the Tampa Bay Times online at 5:01 pm: Legal voters may have been purged from rolls in Florida's noncitizen hunt.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott often says that no actual citizens have been removed from the voter rolls in his program to make sure noncitizens don't have the chance to cast ballots.
"Not one person has been taken off the voter rolls that was a resident, a U.S. citizen who has the right to vote," Scott said Tuesday in Miami.
But that might not be the case.
In two counties — Collier and Lee — at least nine people have been removed from the voter rolls under Scott's program, and elections officials have no solid proof that those people are noncitizens. More could be purged soon.
A pretty far cry from "only noncitizens purged in hunt," wouldn't you say?
I'd love to do a happy dance and tip off the Pulitzer Committee myself, but self-congratulation is not what the moment calls for -- not when there are fellow Floridians -- our fellow Americans -- out there tonight whose most fundamental rights have been illegally stripped. It doesn't matter who prompts the questions or why -- only that they are asked. This purge must stop, and I hope that good reporters like Marc Caputo keep writing about it and uncovering the truth and keep answering those questions we all ask until it is done.
In the meantime, I've got a little boy with a settled tummy and a dry diaper, a purring cat, clean dishes, and a little girl on the verge of sleep who is probably the only person in the world who doesn't mind it when I sing her other good-night song: Oooh, little sleepy girl, do you know what time it is? Well the hour of your bedtime's long been past...
As I finish my song, thinking about the better blog posts I wish I'd written, and she falls asleep in my arms, I carry her to bed with one last hopeful thought I send desperately to the heavens: May she sleep well tonight. May the rights of her mother and father be there for her and her brother. May she not take them for granted. And may we always have on our side those who don't just ask the questions -- but get the answers on which our most precious freedoms depend.