I haven't posted much about the impending execution of Troy Davis in Georgia, though my dear friend Tata has stepped up to the plate both here and elsewhere. Perhaps it makes me a bad liberal that I haven't chosen the death penalty as one of my major causes. It probably does, because sometimes these cases seem like so much background noise in the larger picture of the Siege on America that's taking place when a mean-spirited Republican Party controls the debate and a weak, feckless Democratic Party allows them to do so. But yes, I admit to a certain amout of annoyance when every time progressives take to the streets, the A.N.S.W.E.R folks are out there with their "Free Mumia!" signs. So call me a bad liberal, I can take it.
However, in the aftermath of the spectacle of American citizens cheering a Texas governor and possible future president having executed 234 people during his term so far, and when we KNOW that one of them was innocent, and we also know that said Texas governor loses no sleep over it, we have to start paying attention.
Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 of the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia police officer Marc MacPhail on far less physical evidence than a Florida jury just recently used to acquit Casey Anthony. Many witnesses have come forward and said that their testimony was coerced by Savannah police. When a trial is tainted, such as Davis' was (NYT editorial), and as Cameron Todd Willingham's was in Texas, we owe it to OURSELVES, let alone to the person being sent to his death, to re-evaluate and make sure we have the right guy. Unfortunately, the Georgia Board of Parole and Prisons has thought differently.
The reason this matters now is that the America of Republicans is starting to take shape, and it is an ugly one indeed. It is an America in which angry people frightened about their futures applaud a man who boasts about the number of people in his state who have received the death penalty. It is an America in which it is better to see two or ten or a hundred innocent men be put to death by the state than to risk one guilty one receiving clemency. It is an America in which Republicans would rather a million children to go hungry than for one child to receive a meal to which he is not entitled because his mother makes fifty cents more than the cutoff for aid. It is an America in which the elderly should live in poverty rather than people who have more money than they can spend in 100 lifetimes pay one penny more in taxes.
It may be the state of Georgia that's putting Troy Davis to death today, and we can delude ourselves that it can't happen in OUR state, or it can't happen to US. But unless you are a Republican politician, or a multimillionaire who has paid for the government we have today, it CAN happen to you. And so can poverty and lack of a job and lack of access to health care. It is all part of the same toxic cloud currently hanging over our nation.