In spite of 235 years of history, it appears that Americans continue to struggle with the concept of forced deaths that are carried out by government.
This contention recently arose as one reverberation from a Republican Presidential Debate. Moderator Brian Williams presented a setup statement to Governor Rick Perry with, “Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” Before Williams could deliver the question, the conservative audience erupted in spontaneous applause. Leftist commentators called the reaction “ghastly” and “ghoulish.”
Three weeks later, President Obama also received unashamed applause to his announcement that, “Earlier this morning, Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed in Yemen.” Leftist commentators are ignoring the applause this time and are going right for the question of constitutionality.
The liberal mindset is a fascinating thing to watch. The synapse sequence seems to go something like: (1) Defend evil with compassionate piety. (2) Contort the Constitution until it submits to the defense of evil. (3) Excuse all distasteful and contradictory behavior by liberal leadership.
James Madison made it difficult for liberals to play enfant terrible by introducing the Bill of Rights to Congress in 1789. In their inimitable manner, the Founding Fathers codified America’s policy on death in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution: “No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Conservatives sympathize with the victims in seeking justice against the aggressor. The law gives them the guidance to ensure that the right amount of punishment is meted out to those who deserve it. And they applaud when the bad guy gets it.
Liberals, on the other hand, sympathize with the aggressor, dismissing the effect on the sufferer. The collective gasp from liberals to cheering of capital punishment is immediately explained by the few cases where death row inmates were exonerated by new legal arguments that cast doubt on their convictions. There is rarely a mention of the child who was raped and strangled or the immigrant store clerk who was mercilessly shot in the face for drug money.