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Lame duck Florida Governor Charlie Crist pushed the Florida Clemency Board this week to grant a pardon to the late Doors’ singer Jim Morrison for exposing himself at a concert in Miami in 1969.

Morrison was known as a talented but particularly wild rock star who died at age 27. While the arrest was never resolved before he died in 1971, witnesses, friends, and critics suggest the allegation fit his lifestyle. Fans, however, have been fighting for years to get the charge dropped.

Governor Crist, once considered an up-and-coming Republican star, is now an un-reelected official with no known or foreseeable political future. So he’s spending his last days in office and his executive powers to pardon dead people for public indecency. The real question is why? Why this pardon and why now?

To say that the use of public funds for this kind of ridiculous action is a waste of resources is self-evident. The pardon doesn’t help a dead man and many of his associates have gone on record rejecting it as too little, too late. In other words, whether you’re pleased or displeased, this pardon is inconsequential.

For Governor Crist, though, the pardon’s a salute to his youth. It’s a sound bite for his legacy. The pardon assures Crist will become the answer to a trivia question even if his governorship is forgotten. It makes him a hero for a few who still hang onto the counter-culture movement. It also means Crist is perhaps unintentionally demonstrating what kind of odd-thinking president he would have been. We dodged a bullet on that one.

Given the real challenges Florida faces today, whether or not Jim Morrison opened his pants in 1969 and whether his arrest was justifiable really doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things. Governor Crist just reminded us of how silly politicians can be.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

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