Sunday, December 04, 2005

Get Your Vote On!

So as soon as you finished writing out your Christmas list, you started jotting down things you'd like the Wisconsin Legislature to address (I'm assuming you are a total dork, by the way). Maybe your list starts with the high property tax level, maybe it starts with health care costs. As you work your way down, you may add educational quality, or Second Amendment rights, or environemental regulation.

Fortunately for you, Democratic State Representative Joe Parisi wants to add something to your list, since you likely didn't have "allowing felons to vote" on your list.

You read that right - Parisi wants to give the individuals who have the most hostility towards the law the right to elect those that make those very laws. In Wisconsin, convicted felons lose the right to vote, and Parisi thinks that we have it all backward.

Here's Parisi's press release outlining his plan, which contains this line:

"Parisi said alienating former inmates by prohibiting them from voting only increases the odds that they will re-offend, as opposed to becoming productive members of society."

Here's my short list of things felons can do to become productive members of society that might rank slightly higher than voting:

1. Don't kill anyone else.
2. Don't stab me - I don't have any money.
3. Get a job and pay your alimony.
4. Wear a condom.
16,234. Vote.

First of all, are felons really clamoring for the right to vote? By extending them this right, aren't you doing a favor for the very people that are least likely to cast a ballot? Isn't keeping felons from going to the polls kind of like preventing Pat Robertson from going to a 50 Cent concert? Isn't civic duty is like kryptonite for felons?

I can imagine Parisi doing a focus group on this one:

Question: "State Representative Joe Parisi wants to give you the right to vote when you complete your prison time. Are you for or against this?"

Answer: "Parisi? Hey Ray-Ray - ain't Parisi that m*****f***er that took my m*****f***ing back of weed last week? Didn't I stab him with my m*****f***ing hairbrush?"

Secondly, Parisi believes that we can save valuable tax dollars by allowing felons to vote. Well, sure we can. If you take something that is illegal and make it legal, then that saves us money. We can decriminalize drunk driving and let Peg Lautenschlager run people off the road, and save a ton of cash. We can legalize hot tubbing with 15 year old girls, and the Packers might win a few more games. But is really in our long term best interest?

Since I'm in a list making mood, here are a list of new laws that will be instituted when felons start picking our elected officials:

1. All soap sold in the state must be in the "rope" variety.
2. Cigarettes now legal tender.
3. Kohl Center renamed "Johnnie Cochran Memorial 'Get Your Ball On' Center."
4. In order to buy Sudafed, you have to show your tattoos of your estranged children.

Parisi doesn't seem like that bad of a guy - in fact, his signature is on my marriage certificate (I assume that makes him partly liable when my wife leaves me for Orlando Bloom). But what he doesn't realize is that the Legislature is going out of their way to pass laws to make sure felons can't vote. Polls show that the public is overwhelmingly in favor of voter reforms as passed by the Assembly and Senate. So Parisi is showing that he has more than a tin ear - it appears that his entire head is encased in aluminum.