Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Mitch Perry Report for 11.15.16 — The non-voters speak out

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Mike Evans is feeling the heat today — and so is his employer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Evans decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium versus the Chicago Bears to protest the election of Donald Trump as president is predictably receiving negative reviews in Tampa — the home of MacDill Air Force Base — and the country.

Among those critics is Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, who says he’s “tired of it.”

Since this was the first time Evans has done this, I’m assuming the legislator is referring to other incidents of NFL players sitting or kneeling down for the anthem this season, beginning with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

Their motivations are different, of course; Kaepernick wanted to shine attention on protest brutality and racial injustices. Evans’ issue is with Trump, whose appeal to black voters during the campaign was “what the hell do you have to lose?” in comparison to backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

One thing both men didn’t do last week was take the time to vote, which has angered some folks who are sympathetic to their flexing of their First Amendment rights. In that respect, they’re not a minority, as roughly 100 million eligible Americans also chose not to exercise their franchise last week.

Although some folks disturbed by that number have made suggestions that could improve that figure — like holding elections on a Sunday (like many other nations do and Louisiana does with their primary) or automatically restoring voters. The fact is that shy of making it mandatory, some Americans — even those who say they care about the process — often choose to blow it off, for whatever reason.

Kaepernick makes $19 million this year; Evans a little less than $4 million, which might make it a little easier to think that whomever is elected, it’s not really going to affect their livelihood. Kaepernick said Sunday it would have been hypocritical for him to vote.

“I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression,” he said. “I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”

When it was revealed last week that Kaepernick hadn’t voted, noted ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith went off and said Kaepernick was a hypocrite.

“After all this noise that you made, even though you didn’t intended to do so, by offending our military service men and women, and pointing out about how you wanted to bring attention to racial injustices and beyond in this country, to turn around and not even take your behind to the polls to vote for a particular candidate, it is shameful! Absolutely shameful!”

In other news …

The Progressive Democratic Caucus of Florida wants Florida Republicans to denounce the appointment of former Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon to Donald Trump’s administration.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is calling on her Democratic colleagues to wear a safety pin on their clothes to demonstrate solidarity with those fearful of Trump being in power.

A spokesman for St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman says the door is open for Trump to visit his city, a year after he (jokingly) tweeted he wasn’t welcome.

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans’ decision to sit down during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday to protest Donald Trump’s election isn’t going down in some quarters, including with state Sen. Jack Latvala.

Vern Buchanan has contacted Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, pushing for serious tax reform under the Trump administration

Former State House District 59 Rep. Ed Narain is the latest name being bandied as the possible next chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.

Cyril Spiro is endorsing Jim Davison over Luis Viera in that special Tampa City Council District 7 seat runoff.

Comments

comments

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

Latest from The Bay and the 'Burg

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
Go to Top