I was heartened to read that Governor Charlie Crist of Florida is pursuing a posthumous pardon for two criminal convictions handed down to the legendary Jim Morrison of the Doors after some questionable stage behavior at a 1969 Miami concert. (Jim Morrison Is Candidate for Pardon in ’69 Arrest)
Having researched the court ruling, Crist says, “The more that I've read about the case and the more I get briefed on it, the more convinced I am that maybe an injustice has been done here.” How about that? We still have one politician who can read and who actually wants to do the right thing.
Naturally, though, right-wing, god-fearing conservatives, vehemently disagree with Crist. And the resulting debate has sparked a mini Florida firestorm that would no doubt amuse the man who sang, 'Light My Fire.'
Claude Kirk, Florida's governor at the time Morrison was convicted on misdemeanor charges of profanity and indecent exposure, was annoyed to be asked by the Times reporter about Governor Crist's efforts on Morrison's behalf. “There's a lot more important things to think about than that,” he sniffed. Well, yes, but if Richard M. Nixon can receive a full pardon for ordering and then covering up the Watergate break-in, why can't Jimbo catch a break?
Adding insult to injury, Florida's state attorney of Miami-Dade County, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, huffed: “It's not worth the time.” Nice. I'll bet Morrison wouldn't love her madly or two times, for that matter.
I see the Morrison conflagration as yet another example of our country's acute polarization. Bible-thumping Tea Party types view Morrison (and his liberal, left-leaning successors) as the epitome of evil. The latter, meanwhile, would like to right a past wrong and allow Morrison's name (if not his spirit) to rest in peace.
If former New York governor George Pataki could pardon Lenny Bruce and former Enron chairman Ken Lay's conviction can be annulled, why can't Florida do right by Morrison? As Jim sang, people are strange (and are becoming even stranger every day).
Although my vote doesn't count, here's hoping Crist can 'break on through' and get Morrison's minor offenses expunged after all these years. It would certainly give new meaning to one of my favorite Doors' songs: 'The End.'