Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Dull Blade in Toledo

The Toledo Blade takes the position that U.S. Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers "missed the point" earlier this month when he announced that, as a matter of general policy, the Department of Justice will not entertain pardon applications filed on behalf of people who are dead. The Office has, in recent years, been dealing with record numbers of new and pending clemency applications, so Rodgers' position actually reeks with the pungent stench of both fairness and common sense.

But, insists the Blade, granting long dead boxer Jack Johnson a pardon would "do more" than clear the boxer's "sullied reputation." No, such an act would also:
... acknowledge that America's promise of freedom and equality was an illusion for many in the past and the law often was subverted in the cause of injustice. More than that, he would be saying that the United States both recognizes and repudiates that past.
First, it not very likely at all that a presidential pardon would clear Johnson's reputation as a personally violent man who had utter disdain for the law and relished cavorting with whores and prostitutes (of all colors).

Second, we ask the Blade, "Where is anyone on earth who does not recognize America's promise of freedom of equality was an illusion for many in the past?" Is there any text book in any public school in America that says otherwise? While the Blade was sleeping, the government very loudly and officially recognized and repudiated that past with the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th, Amendments, a series of "civil rights" acts, Brown v. Board of Education and the advent of affirmative action!

There simply is no need whatsoever for the Nation's first African-American president to further insult and dull the meaning of the pardon power in order to make the Blade's patently obvious, widely accepted and very often repeated point. And even if it were the case, that such a point really "needed" to be made, by the president, it would be much better made via presidential proclamation, and in reference to someone who would make a much better role model for young African-Americans victimized by the Nation's sullied past. Marcus Garvey, yes. Jack Johnson (lots of pictures and exciting film footage to the contrary) NO ! See full editorial here.

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