After you dodge the gaggle of fraternity men, begging you to give them the “I voted” sticker you’ll get after casting your ballot, you find your place in line and dig through your backpack until you find your rarely used Gator 1 Card. You dust it off and mindlessly scroll through social media on your phone until you reach the front of the line.
The friendly older woman at the desk hands you a red card with detailed instructions on how to cast your ballot. After confirming your year and major on about six different screens, you finally reach the ballot.
Oddly enough, however, the ballot doesn’t say what you expect. Instead, it reads ...
Darts & Laurels
Hearts were shattered this Tuesday when members of the Florida House of Representatives refused to even consider a bill that would have banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
House Democrats attempted to debate the bill on the floor six days after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The bill would have banned the sale and possession of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, like the kind used by confessed killer Nikolas Cruz.
Unfortunately, House Republicans decisively blocked the move with a 71 to 36 vote, deciding they wouldn’t even discuss the bill. How many more lives need to be lost before we realize there is a simple solution? How many lives will it take for Republicans to finally value safety over National Rifle Association funding? To the Florida House Republicans, we award our first dart.
This callous decision, however, only served as fuel for those advocating for stricter gun reform. On Wednesday, Tallahassee streets were flooded with nearly 100 Stoneman Douglas students and thousands of other supporters as they rallied for gun control outside the capitol building.
Students also managed to schedule audiences with Gov. Rick Scott, State Attorney General Pam Bondi and leaders of the state House and Senate. The teenagers recounted their tragedy and presented their pleas. The fearless efforts Stoneman Douglas students and other Americans have exhibited since the shooting are nothing short of inspiring. Millions have been using the calamity as a reason to change our country for the better. To these students and the others who have been advocating for stricter gun laws, we award our first laurel.
While we didn’t see movement in the Florida House for a ban on assault rifles, we did get a glimmer of hope from President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, Trump said he directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to propose changes that would ban bump fire stocks, which make it easier for shooters to fire rounds faster. We admit, this isn’t the change we are waiting for, and it definitely isn’t enough. But it is something, dear readers. And for that, we are grateful. For probably the first time in Alligator history, we award our second laurel to Trump.
This Monday, we announced our endorsements for Challenge Party’s executive ticket and Inspire Party’s Senate seats in this Spring’s Student Government Elections. We were disappointed, but not surprised, when we saw Impact Party sweep the election for the third year in a row. We had hoped more students would vote, and we’d see an end to system parties like Impact, which refuse to focus on the real needs of students.
Only 10,381 ballots were cast this Spring. At a school with around 50,000 students, that number is embarrassing. To the students who chose not to vote, we award our second and last dart of the week. When you refuse to let your voice be heard, you are agreeing to succumb to the status quo and supporting the convoluted and corrupt system that has been in place for far too long within SG.