Friday, September 23, 2011

Hooray for Death!

Hello everyone.

In my last post, I mentioned that fall is here, which technically wasn't true, but I meant that it felt like fall.  Well, now fall is officially here, and it's currently 82 degrees.  The forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of 90.

If this were, say, Phoenix, the weather would be pretty normal.  For North Idaho--mind you, we're less than 100 miles from the Canadian border--it's downright crazy.  I've already talked about how the global warming deniers have been silent all summer, and I fully expect that as soon as we have the inevitable big snowstorm or cold spell this winter, they'll be quick to point out how it's "evidence" the global warming is nothing but a big scam to make Al Gore rich, and that the oil and coal companies really have our best interests at heart when they fund focus groups with the stated purpose of denying and/or downplaying global warming.

The worst thing about this weather is that we've already had a few hard overnight frosts, so most of our garden plants (including all out tomato plants) are history, even though the daytime temperatures are ideal for growing.  Sigh.

Anyway, I've spent the last several blog postings yammering on about beer, which is something I obviously love to drink and blog about.  But I realize not everyone cares.  So today, I'm going to avoid beer talk, aside from the brief beer mention in this paragraph, which you're already past.  Instead, I'm going back to my roots: politics.


Even though the 2012 presidential election is over a year away, the circus that media pundits like to call "campaign season" is in full swing, and since it's pretty much a given (though not entirely) that Obama will be the Democratic nominee, on the Republican side there's a host of idiots clamoring to do the bidding of the wealthy elite that run this country. 

The candidates have already had several debates, and they've certainly said some interesting things.  But I've been more interested in the crowd reactions than the meaningless catchphrases and other nonsense they try to pass off as responses to questions.  At the debate earlier this month at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Brian Williams asked George Bush wannabe Rick Perry about the death penalty.  Take a look:

At the mere mention that the state of Texas has killed 234 people, more than any other state, the crowd breaks into applause. I'm not talking about a few people clapping, but widespread applause, complete with a couple of "whoos" and whistles.

As I said on Facebook at the time: regardless of your feelings are on the death penalty, it's nothing to cheer about. A person being killed, even when killed by a state, and even if the person is a really, really bad person, is still a tragedy. Every time someone is executed, someone else loses a son or daughter, or a parent, or a spouse, or a friend. And of course, the person on death row is likely there for committing murder in the first place, which adds to the overall tragedy.

But the knuckledraggers in the crowd cheered the death of 234 people a year as if their favorite football team had just scored a touchdown.

This sort of behavior reveals an incredible lack of empathy for fellow human beings, as well as an incredible lack of critical thinking.  It points to a mindset in which everything in the world is black and white, and people are all either good guys, or bad guys who deserve to die. And it also shows a disturbing willingness to wholeheartedly embrace authoritarianism, where the government is never wrong in its judgement and punishment. That last one is exceptionally odd to see among self-styled "small government" Republicans.

Who decides who gets executed? Juries, which are made of people like me and you, as well as the guy down the road with the Camaro on cinder blocks in his front yard. Also, judges, who are appointed by self-serving politicians, or who themselves become politicians to get elected to their post. And don't forget the lawyers who fight over the cases. And the politicians who passed laws to permit the death penalty. Not exactly the salt of the earth.

In short: dumb people often make dumb decisions.

And let's not forget that numerous times people have been executed only to later be found innocent.

There was just a recent high-profile example in the Troy Davis case, where a number of the witnesses later recanted their testimony and said the police pressured them to testify, and some said that one of the other of the witnesses actually confessed to the murder. Some of the victim's family members even tried to prevent the execution. Despite all the doubts, Troy Davis was executed anyway, quite possibly for no good reason. That's what the people in the crowd were cheering.

At the next debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul a question about a hypothetical person with no insurance:

When Ron Paul was asked if the person with no insurance and who couldn't afford a life-saving procedure should just die, several people in the audience shouted "Yes!"

Unreal.  The people in the crowd apparently think you deserve to die if you don't buy insurance.  That sure gives a lot of power to those health insurance companies, no?

Republicans hate the mandate in Obamacare, but I can't really see much of a difference between a system where you're compelled to buy private health insurance by the government, and one in which you're compelled to buy private health insurance because you might die if you don't.  I guess the latter provides Republicans with the illusion of freedom, so there's that.

Here's the thing about both of these debate incidents: If you agree with the crowd reactions in either of the videos, you no longer get to call yourself "pro-life." The same goes if you support the numerous wars/bombing campaigns/occupations/drone strikes happening across the world by our government. There's nothing pro-life about any of it.  And if you're cheering death, you're a sociopath.

I don't know what has happened, but I remember when death used to be considered a tragedy.  Apparently, it's something to cheer about now.  And the downward spiral of our country continues.

In Closing

As much as I follow politics, I've been trying to keep all things political to a minimum here, mainly because it can be downright depressing.  This particular past has been especially so, at least for me, so I'll try to make my next post a bit more fun.  A while back I promised a blog posting about my chili recipe, so maybe I'll do that next.

Now, here it is, your moment of Tucker:


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Blogger Michelle H. said...

Tragedy on both sides.

Killing people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong may not be the best solution .... but I don't know what a better solution would be? Locking them up forever doesn't always work, either...

Page 18 explains my reasons for believing in the death penalty far better than I ever could.

12:12 PM, September 28, 2011  
Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Michelle.

2:03 PM, September 28, 2011  
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