By now, a lot of you have seen this viral video of the audience members at the Tea Party sponsored GOP Debate screaming “Yes” and cheering.
Even though I like to write recaps from an obviously Spinny (snark-filled) point of view, that reaction really disturbed me. As did the one last week where people cheered at Perry’s execution record.
Of course, I know not all Tea Partiers or GOP members are cold hearted. Reactions like that are doing nothing for that stereotype, though.
Regarding the death penalty, my stance differs from many Liberals as I support it. It’s a sentence that should never be meted out lightly, though. There should be compelling evidence, preferably DNA. It’s obviously a serious matter – life and death – literally.
That’s why the cheering bothered me, especially with Perry saying he doesn’t lose sleep at night over the possibility that an innocent man has been executed. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas under Perry’s watch, and he could have very well been innocent. He was executed for the murder of his three daughters in a fire ruled as deliberately set. Days before his execution, a nationally recognized arson expert submitted a report that the conviction was based on erroneous forensic analysis. Perry said that the expert was wrong and that he wouldn’t listen to anti-death penalty “propoganda.” He refused to grant the stay, and Willingham was executed.
Since the execution, nine of the nation’s top fire scientists concluded that investigators relied on outdated theories to justify the conclusion of arson. If I were Perry, and I read that, I would lose more than a night’s sleep. And in an entirely different context, Governor Perry would answer the question, “Would you let him die” with “Yes, and I did.”
Where am I going with this? If the Tea Party and the GOP want people to believe there is Compassionate Conservatism, maybe they shouldn’t encourage the death of a guy without insurance or cheer the number of people who were executed. Especially when at least one of them could have been innocent.