There Will Be Blood
Ladies and gentlemen, the next Republican nominee for President of the United States of America!
I can’t help but think we get the leaders we deserve.
Oh hey look, ma, I’m quoted in the Wall Street Journal!
In a post explaining how “Capital punishment brings out the worst in the liberal elite” John Taranto writes:
Brian Williams was far from alone in being vexed by the audience’s applause. “That crowd cheering for all of Rick Perry’s executions was truly creepy,” tweeted Glenn Greenwald, an expert on creepiness. “Any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join,” wrote the excitable Andrew Sullivan. “This is the crowd that believes in torture and executions.” (Sullivan is hallucinating again. No jurisdiction in America employs torture as a criminal penalty.)
Blogger E.D. Kainadds: “When Perry is asked about the two-hundred and thirty some people he’s executed on death row during his governorship, the audience bursts into applause. Torture, war, and death, and this is the ‘pro-life’ party. I submit to you that this moment is perhaps the most telling since George W. Bush left office; that the modern Republican party is not only intellectually bankrupt, but morally bankrupt as well.”
Capital punishment draws strong emotional reactions on both sides, doesn’t it? And whatever one thinks of the death penalty or the audience’s behavior last night, the harshness, self-righteousness and simple-mindedness of these responses belie the left’s self-image as intellectually sophisticated and tolerant of other viewpoints.
Kain implies that there is a contradiction between supporting capital punishment and opposing abortion, as if the establishment of guilt by due process meant nothing. Ta-Nahisi Coates similarly conflates the orderly administration of justice with wanton violence: “Apparently people were shocked by the applause here. The only thing that shocked me was that they didn’t form a rumba line. . . . This is still the country where we took kids to see men lynched, and then posed for photos.” But mob justice would still be injustice if the punishment were life in prison.
Two quick points. First, I’m now the ‘liberal elite’ apparently, which is flattering, really.
Second, I said nothing– nothing whatsoever – about abortion. Not one damn thing. Why do conservatives keep bringing up abortion in response to my post about how bloody awful it was for the crowd to cheer on the executions of their fellow citizens? **
I don’t care if you support the death penalty. No doubt it’s a controversial, difficult issue. I don’t think it’s morally bankrupt to support the death penalty. I mean, sometimes when you hear a story about a child rapist getting the death penalty, it’s hard not to feel like the guy got what he deserved. I oppose the death penalty because in my mind it’s better to let a bunch of child rapists rot away in prison than to execute an innocent man. Justice can still be served.
No, supporting the death penalty is one thing, cheering the executions is quite another. As Radley Balko has pointed out, there is really no other government program so big, so vast in its implications, as the death penalty. Even supporters of it should exercise that support with caution and restraint.
** OKAY people. Y’all reminded me that I used the term “pro-life”. I did! It’s true! I did it because I think it’s remarkable that people who profess to value human life can cheer at death. I am not saying that you can’t be both pro-death penalty and anti-abortion at the same time. I’m saying that you should be against cheering about death if you want to be called pro-life. Taranto et alia are dodging the larger issues here by focusing on that. And they’re missing the point anyways.