Infallibility.

First the facts.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making his state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth in five years to usher in a repeal.

During a Sept. 2011 Republican presidential debate NBC’s Brian Williams asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) a question about the death penalty and pointed to the 234 executions during his watch, and even before Perry answered, the Republican debate crowd erupted in applause for the governor’s actions.

Since the death penalty moratorium ended January 17, 1977 African Americans made up 41 percent of death row inmates in Texas while making up only 12 percent of the state’s general population.

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, since the re-institution of the death penalty, 142 innocent prisoners have been exonerated from the death row. (No. 142, Robert Dewey from Colorado, was exonerated on April 30, 2012.) It is unknown how many of the people executed since 1976 may have been innocent, but some of them were executed although there was considerable doubt about their guilt, e.g. Cameron Willingham (2004) and Troy Davis (2011).

Now the opinion.

When God told Moses “a life for a life”, there was exactly one person who judged an individual’s guilt or innocence. That person’s name was, you guessed it, Moses. Since he was imbued with the perfect Spirit of Jehovah, there was a 100% certainty that every single verdict decided by God’s messenger was correct. In today’s world, where only a handful of nations still have the death penalty on the books, the legal system isn’t quite so infallible.

Sure, there’s the question of humaneness. I find that issue to be of lesser importance, but distinct from, the human error argument. And I understand there’s a chance my opposition to the death penalty might be wrong. After all, I’m only human.

Caveman politics.

To comprehend our present predicament, I believe the only way to move forward is to look at our past. I’m not talking a year ago, or a decade, or even a century. I’m talking waaay back.

Humans have always perceived reality through a sort of political looking-glass. In order to make sense of things, a person’s heart and mind must be in agreement.

We’re back in the stone-age, as a small band of hunter-gatherers stumble upon a watering hole. This little group is now in possession of something more precious than gold. Life is wonderful for a while, till that fateful day when another group of cave-dwellers spot the creek.

The first instinct is to fight to the death for the sole right to the water. Let’s say our original small band of warriors wins, but half the group dies in the battle. Time passes, and another group of outsiders show up at the creek. This time our prehistoric friends are divided.

They can’t just let the enemy take what’s theirs; but how many more men can they afford to lose? Two camps arise: one advocating to fight like the last time, the other wanting to share the water with the intruders. This is the birth of politics. Conservatives/Republicans/Nazis wanting to hold on to what is theirs no matter what; and Liberals/Democrats/Communists wanting to “share the wealth”.

So, which side is right?

Wrong question. It’s not a matter of right versus wrong. It’s a matter of winning or losing. And as Solomon so keenly observed, there’s a time when the conservative way is best suited for the situation at hand; and there’s a time when the liberal approach makes more sense.

Our great nation has been on a conservative course since Day One of the Reagan Revolution. I may be in the minority but I’m convinced it’s time for a liberal awakening.

Happy Birthday, America!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Today we celebrate the dawn of freedom – not as republicans or democrats, or liberals or conservatives, or Black or white, or rich or poor; without regard to ancestry, religion, or philosophy – but as Americans, one and all…