Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Standing up and being counted

The Lebanon Daily News ran an article last Friday on the Lebanon DA race and used quotes directly from the CPADP press release. This was surprising but OK since at the top of each release it does say "For Immediate Release". In my experience, the press release is usually a primer that leads into an interview with a reporter, but it's cool. I'm glad that LDN ran some of the quotes about what's wrong with the death penalty.

On Sunday, the editorial board commented that CPADP aided DA candidate Dave Arnold by speaking out against his comments at a recent debate. LDN agreed that Arnold's comments were a blunder but also felt that Arnold is aided by having an anti-death penalty group speak out against his comments.

That may well be true. The lead of the editorial is wrong, though:

Andy Hoover, who identifies himself as president of Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty, probably thought he was harming the electoral prospects of district-attorney candidate David Arnold this week by sharply rebuking Arnold for hawkish comments he made during a candidates' forum Monday night.

As stated before, CPADP does not support one candidate or another. Of course, in private, each of us has candidates that we prefer. As an organization, however, our mission is to educate the general public on the issue of the death penalty toward its ultimate demise.

When that press release was written, I was well aware that I could be either hurting or harming either candidate. Lebanon County is a conservative area, so the LDN editorial board may well be right that it helps Arnold.

But here's the dilemma for those working to end capital punishment. Do we let candidates for public office get away with making irresponsible comments in the midst of campaigns? Why is it that those who are prudent in their support for the death penalty, like Ms. Eshleman, are the candidates who are on the defensive? Why is that those of who don't want to kill people have to answer for ourselves, as if we're the ones who have an indefensible position?

Do a Google search with the terms "impeach Anthony Kennedy". The vitriol against Justice Kennedy, particularly for his decision in the Roper v. Simmons juvenile execution case in March, is stunning, and much of it comes from people of so-called faith. That is not the Christianity that I grew up with. What follower of Jesus could say that he or she is OK with executing child criminals? WWJD?

(Mind you, according to polls even after the DC sniper case, only about 20% of the country supports juvenile executions.)

This episode has me thinking more about how to handle zealous pro-death comments from public officials. We've reached a point in this movement where we can no longer let the Dave Arnolds of the world get away with being irresponsible with death. President Bush has urged the country to err on the side of life, and the Abolitionist agrees.


At 6:30 AM, Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

Another death debate penalty Resource... . A discussion forum for all that deals with such hot-button issues as death debate penalty .


Post a Comment

<< Home