generic Darts and Laurels

With shaky, highly caffeinated hands, you push through the rotating door of Library West. Students are walking around intent on finding a coveted seat. The days are quickly dwindling down before the weeks of final projects and exams, which means all libraries on campus are at full capacity. Finding a seat on any floor of a UF library is becoming a tricky game of musical chairs, with seats only opening up when class changes. However, you’re determined to find the perfect one, and most likely will stay there for the foreseeable future.

Slowly making your way up the escalator, you turn the corner to scour the tables for an empty seat. As you weave in and out of already occupied chairs, you see a lone seat shining like a beacon. You quickly plop yourself down and spread out all of your things, claiming your area. You look up in front of you, and you’re met with a glass divider covered in scribbles. Some of the words mean nothing, some are words of encouragement and some are words of utter desperation. However, one phrase stands out the most. The words are exactly what you needed to see. It’s how you know you’ll be able to make it through a new round of exams. The words read:

Darts & Laurels

We wanted to start off this week by giving out a laurel to the people of New Zealand and especially its Muslim community. They faced an unspeakable tragedy on March 15, and we wish to offer our show of support in an incredibly trying time in the nation’s history. New Zealand worked quickly to propose a bill that calls for a sweeping change in gun laws in the country. The plan, announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and any type of addition that would modify a gun to act like the weapons used in the attack.

Back in Florida, a dart goes out to Republicans who proposed a bill that would limit the amount of formerly incarcerated individuals able to vote. Florida implemented a new bill Jan. 1 that allows for formerly incarcerated people to gain back their right to vote, something that wasn’t previously possible. This new bill, proposed Tuesday, will require them to have to pay back their court fees and fines before they are allowed to register. Fees were not previously defined in Amendment 4 and are up to Florida counties to determine. This measure explicitly states that fines and fees have to be paid to register to vote. The measure feels like a way to sidestep the will of Florida’s people and to unfairly target lower-income people. It’s a new form of voter suppression that shouldn’t be allowed.

Speaking of voting, Gainesville recently held its mayoral election Tuesday, where Mayor Lauren Poe was awarded a second term. Poe won with nearly 62 percent of the vote. A laurel goes out to all the citizens of Gainesville who voted in the local election. This year’s election saw a smaller voter turnout than the previous year’s local election, with a 12.95 percent voter turnout in this year’s election compared to the 13.53 percent turnout in 2018. However, it is still up from the 2017 Gainesville voter turnout which was 11.88 percent.

Florida politics have always been controversial and often filled with argument, and a survey done by polling and analytics firm PredictWise further proves this. It found that Floridians are the most likely to hold a prejudice against a person’s rival political party in the U.S. Though many states are considerably prejudiced against a person’s opposing political party, they don’t quite beat out Florida. A dart goes out to those in Florida and across the country who hold unnecessary prejudices. One of the biggest problems in America’s political system is intense partisanship. We should be doing what we can to be tolerant, not divisive.