Journal entry of 12-14-07: NJ rejects the death penalty
What good does the death penalty do? It deters no crimes, it is costlier than life inprisonment, and most of all it is inhumane for the government to execute anyone in cold blood, for no other reason than revenge. Plus, there is the obvious problem of racially tainted discriminatory sentencing, as well as the fact that juries make mistakes and with DNA evidence now available such mistakes have been documented in too many cases.
Besides, frankly speaking, if I had to chose either death or life in prison--guess what, I'd go for death. That's because to me it is the quality of life that takes precedence over life at all costs, no matter how miserable.
That also means that when I get really old and sick and suffer a lot, and society still has to pay the bills for my pain and misery to continue, just let me have the hemlock, or some other potio-- or at least don't put me on every possible life support system our technology has become capable of--just to postpone the inevitable.
Don't let the life at all cost people 'defend' my right to live miserably and in pain with no hope of recovery. Just let me go, thank you very much. But it is a choice I'd like to make myself, that's why I am making my wishes known well in advance on this website. And as long as I am at it, be advised that I prefer for my body not to serve as food for the worms, or any other related critters, so cremation is the ticket.
The Neptune Society in SF does a reasonable job of burning corpses for a reasonable cost less than $1000, and what you may or may not do with my ashes is not a big concern to me--if anyone might care to drive them to Mad River near Dinsmuir (in Six Rivers National Forest) then that would be great. It's where Louis and I used to have some fine encampments--just drive off the little bridge unto the river bed when it's dry in summer and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Otherwise the Pacific Ocean at one of the SF beaches would be just fine, Baker Beach by preference, since it has a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge and is easily accessible. Both John downstairs and Brahm know about this. Now everyone does. But that was an aside--now back to the death penalty.
The Italians be will be lighting up the Coliseum--one of the world's most notorious arenas of government sponsored death--to honor the state of New Jersey for joining the community of enlightened societies.
The other night I was watching a program on ethics in which the well known Dr. Galen espoused the use of the death penalty as a legitimate form of retribution. Enlightened societies do not exact retribution. They leave that to societies still adhering to the teachings and values of the Old Testament and Koranic Sharia.
Enlightened societies recognize that measured deterrence is appropriate, but that it should never be tinged by revenge or retribution. What is good for the Mafia and Texas is not a value to enlightened societies.
Why has the Coliseum not yet been lighted up for more of our United States? Why are we not living up to the promise of the Enlightenment from which we derived our basic values, the values stated in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights? It is not that those values are inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus, but that too many of those who espouse Jesus as their God seem to prefer the vengeful Yahweh of the Old Testament to the New Testament's God of Love, which Jesus taught us about.
To make things even more perverse, the Right Wing crazies have taken to calling themselves 'values voters'--and their values include the proliferation of violent weapons, not just a hand gun or two, but semi-automatic weapons not generally used in hunting (another great 'value' of the right wing) unless you like hunting people, and not just one or two but as many as you can slay at one time without tiring your trigger finger too much. Another value they espouse is of course the defense of exclusivity and discrimination.
You'd think that might have been out the window with the defeat of the Confederate slave society, but no, the KKK is alive and well and include themselves among the 'values voters' these days. Take the Defense of Marriage Act, or the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, aka the DOMA and the DADT for short.
Both of these policies were caved in to by the Clinton Administration, for which reason I still have an appeltje te schillen (to peal an apple) with them. That's a Dutch expression meaning that I have still have a grudge against them.
Easy going Bill just took the easy way out. And even if I were willing to forgive him for that, which I am not, there was the Ruanda thing--for which he has no adequate explanation. Of course under the Bushman watch the exact same thing is happening as we speak with regard to another genocide--nothing.
And now Hilary Clinton seems to have taken a page out of her hubby's book by opting once too often for the easy compromise--like her vote on the Kyle-Lieberman amendment branding a branch of the Iranian government as a terrorist organization. Not that they didn't deserve that moniker, but the rationale for the Bush people clearly was to beat the drum for yet another ill-fated military adventure, now that we are doing so well in Afghanistan and Irak. Hillary should have known better, I am sure she did know better, but...she voted for the amendment. That's inexcusable. I became her supporter somewhat reluctantly, and have not quite yet definitely abandoned her as my likely candidate, but I must say that Barack Obama is looking much better at this point. Actually, when the California primary is held, I might just vote my conscience and go with Dennis Kusinich, whose views may be somewhat unrealistic in the current climate, but what the hell, how much damage can a protest vote do in the Califonia Democratic primary. I will of course have to support whatever candidate our party picks in the general election--what alternative do we have? I mean, ecce homines Republicanes, look at those leading Republican guys. Be serious. Mitt? Rudy? At least McCain and Huckaby are respectable human beings, not mannekens that piss me off. But it is unlikely they will make it to the general election. Anyway, check the following website for more on Hillary's politcal faux pas...
In general, I do like the Hillary-Billies, they are smart and have their heart in the right place, but I haven't heard them endorse one unpopular policy they think is worth loosing an election for--and maybe, maybe that's just being too smart. I like Biden--if it were up to me, I'd see him as our next president. Kucinich is even better on many issues, but he lacks the necessary gravitas, he comes accross as a bit shrill. Biden doesn't and has the respect of almost everyone I can think of. So why is he not doing better in the polls?
The answer, my friends, is bucks and megabucks, as well as the level of undereducation of the great electorate--they just don't seem to read him, their attention span is too short, his sentences too long, too intellectual, too complex, too nuanced.
Nuance is a nono in a democracy where facile soundbites beat detailed analysis and probative discussion. But at least I see Biden as the most likely Secretary of State--he would make a truly great one.
OK, folks, it is getting to be close to 5 PM and Brahm wants to go home and enjoy the benefits of free ucellohood. Si I will bid you all a fond adieu.