Ending the Real Culture Of Death

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Cross-posted at The Great Orange Satan (DailyKos)

The faux religious zealots like to go around spouting about a “culture of death” in our country because we let women make their own decisions about their bodies. However the real culture of death in this country is the unjust death penalty. We join beacons of justice China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan in accounting for 90 percent of all executions. 133 countries around the world have abolished the death penalty. And yet we stick on to this culture of death. However great news has been coming out in recent days for those who wish to end this injustice. Two days ago New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine on Monday signed a law abolishing the death penalty, the first state to ban it in 42 years. And then yesterday on a 104 to 54 vote, with 29 abstentions the U.N. General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

First the New Jersey ban. On Monday Jon Corzine the Democratic governors of New Jersey signed a bill passed by both chambers of the state legislator and with a stroke of the pen abolished the unjust practice in New Jersey. Here is what Corzine said shortly before he signed it.

“Today, Dec. 17, 2007, is a momentous day, a day of progress, for the state of New Jersey and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous crime of murder.”

Indeed it was a day of progress for millions of people across our nation and around the globe. But the next day another blow was dealt to this culture of death. As I noted above the UN passed a resolution calling for “”a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty,”. It was passed by a near two to one vote. The US and such firm allies as Iran lead the opposition. Here’s what U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had to say about the vote.

I welcome the adoption today by the General Assembly of a call on all States to establish a moratorium on the application of the death penalty. Today’s vote represents a bold step by the international community. I am particularly encouraged by the support expressed for this initiative from many diverse regions of the world. This is further evidence of a trend towards ultimately abolishing the death penalty.

Doesn’t it put pride in you’re heart to see you’re country leading on such a important issue? Oh wait.

Today Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights penned a op-ed in the Los Angles Times entitled The U.N.’s death blow

When the U.N. General Assembly called Tuesday for a worldwide moratorium on the application of the death penalty, it took a significant step toward the definitive abolition of capital punishment, a move that would enhance the protection of human rights and the inviolability of the person.

Let us hope we someday reach that day. And now that we’ve gotten action and probably cameras the only thing that was missing was lights. And what better to light up then a former sybol of death: The Colosseum. From the AP:

The ancient arena was bathed in white light as Italy celebrated the U.N. General Assembly resolution approved Tuesday despite opposition by supporters of the death penalty, including the United States, Iran and China.

It also gives a great fact that I had not previously been aware of.

Rome’s Colosseum, once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, has become a symbol of Italy’s fight against capital punishment. Since 1999, the 1st century monument has been lit up every time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the world or a country abolishes capital punishment.

That’s what I call a good use of public buildings.

Many make the politicians make the argument that we must be tough on crime because the almighty poll says so. This is what I have to say to them. Isn’t it about time we looked past polls and governed by our principles, our values, our beliefs? Isn’t it time we have a little compassion to those murdered on death row for committing no crime? Sure you’re little polls say the majority of Americans oppose abolishing the death penalty but then why do they vote for leaders with conviction like Tim Kaine who oppose the death penalty? It’s because we’ve had enough of the culture of death. Not the supposed culture of death the theocons believe in but the real, unjust policy of the death penalty.

It’s time that we as a country and we as a world stand up and say “And eye for a eye makes the whole world blind. It’s time to say we’re not going to live with a culture of death anymore.


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  1. This may be a contentious issue so if anyone wants to disagree please go ahead but lets try to keep it civil and not get personal.

  2. No justice here, no liberty

    No reason, no blame

    There’s no cause to taint the sweetest taste of blood

    And greetings from the nation

    As we shake the hands of time

    They’re taking their ovations

    The vultures stay behind

    In the colosseum, in the colosseum

    In the colosseum tonight

    The culture of death belongs to us all we have cultivated it both right and left. Contentious my ass. It’s the only issue you ask this pacifist. Is human life or any life cheap? The wheel of violence is feed by righteous retribution. Crime is not stopped violence is no solution. An eye for an eye doesn’t stop shit, passing this off as anything other then primitive vengeance and blood lust, combined with state sanction of ritual killing is just more of the whole problem. Kill that which is incomprehensible, the violence we are daily creating.    

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