I'm conflicted again, folks.
Yesterday , the Indianapolis Star reports that State Representative Bill Crawford got permission for some folks to register inmates at the Marion County Jail who were charged BUT NOT YET CONVICTED after getting permission from Sheriff Anderson.
On to the first side of my conflict... I think people usually only do things that benefit their "side" politically. This means that Representative Crawford believes he can get more D votes out of jail than R votes. Yow! Doesn't that cause some concerns from a public relations standpoint? To have the Democratic Party be known as the party that gets votes from the pokey?!?
But the other side of my conflict is this... We also have a presumption of innocent until proven...ha ha ha hah...oh, that's funny, isn't it? I can't keep a straight face. Seriously, is there anybody in America who still believes that? We're so quick to judge. I realize the only way you can conclude that the Democratic Party is the "criminal" party is to just assume all these guys/gals are guilty even before their trials. But I know that is what everybody is going to do. You're thinking it right now, so quit acting like you're not!
But let's say they are guilty. Until the day of that conviction, they can vote. When they do their time, regardless of what the crime is, they should be able to vote again. I think it's completely idiotic to take someone's vote away permanently for being convicted of a crime, yet 14 states have laws permanently disenfranchising convicted felons. Several others extend the prohibition for probation and parole. http://www.hrw.org/reports98/vote/usvot98o.htm
If they're going to take away this right, which is the protector of all other rights, then they should also make sure that nobody who has been convicted of a felony pays taxes after serving their sentence. Taxation without a vote is no different than taxation without representation.
My other concern, which may be viewed as conspiratorial )but is really only grounded in a simple truth that politicians seek political advantages) is that if you can truly tell that a particular people, let's say African-Americans as a silly example, are more likely to vote for one political party's candidates...say Democrats by a 90% to 10% clip, just as a for instance. And suppose, also, as a crazy hypothethical, that your prison population is disproportionately African-American. Might there be some less than flattering reasons why some Republicans pass laws extending the prohibition to parolees and probationers? Also, as almost every state prohibits convicts from voting while they're in prison, might there be some less than flattering reasons why certain crimes would be disproportionately punished, for example, by giving longer sentences to people who possess crack than people who possess powdered cocaine of the same amount after it is determined that certain people, say African-Americans are more likely to possess crack and others, say white people, are more likely to have a "mountain of snow" (to quote Ludacris)?
Seriously, can someone walk me through the thought process on disenfranchisement of felons. Is it as simple as, "We don't want inmates to vote because THEY'LL VOTE FOR CROOKS!"
If so, my retort is....yeah, and so will a lot of the NON-convicts in Ohio (the home of Jim Trafficant and Bob Ney), Louisiana (the home of William Jefferson), California (the home of Randy "Duke" Cunningham), and Texas (the home of Tom Delay), just to name a few.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I'm conflicted again, folks.