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This weekend Nomadic Theatre is putting on "The Exonerated", about the experiences of six people who were wrongfully convicted but still lost years of their lives on death row.*

Our justice system, though, is systemically unjust. It is racist, ineffective at deterring crime, often erroneous, and extremely expensive.

And yet... almost all our Democratic candidates -- including every single frontrunner -- support the death penalty. Clinton is a long-time advocate. Edwards believes "some crimes deserve the ultimate penalty". Obama, for all he is touted as a religious and moral man, and for all he believes that the death penalty "does little to deter crime", still would execute prisoners.

Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised, but Kucinich is in the only one on the field who vocalizes what I am convinced is the only appropriate approach. "Morally," he writes, "I simply do not believe that we as human beings have the right to 'play God' and take a human life – especially since our human judgments are fallible and often wrong." Along with him comes Gravel, who has been silent on capital punishment so far in this campaign but was opposed at least back in 1972, when his book Citizen Power came out.

I'm dismayed that once again, it's only the "crazy" and "ridiculously unelectable" candidates who are talking sense. (It reminds me incredibly of that debate where it was only these two who would lower the drinking age so that young people who are called to die for our country could also buy a beer. Yeah.)

Why is that? I think Liliana Segura has it pegged: "They know that as long as no one holds them accountable, it is a political stance that costs them nothing. It’s their “soft on crime” trump card." Kucinich (and to some extent Gravel) can say these things only because he isn't considered a real candidate.

Cynical? Yes. Unfortunately, it also rings true. How crazy is Kucinich really?

*It was a wonderful performance, and one that I suggest you all look into attending before the show ends this weekend.


Kipp! said...

Its interesting that the same people who supposedly distrust the government and want to limit its size and scope are so comfortable with granting it the power to kill.