Georgia’s September 21 cold-blooded murder of Troy Anthony Davis symbolizes what’s wrong with America.
Notably, the system at all levels is hopelessly corrupted and broken. The only option is tearing it down and starting over.
Doing it Venezuela’s way under Chavez works. Both nations are constitutional worlds apart.
In his September 17 article titled, “Chavez versus Obama: Facing Presidential Elections in 2012,” James Petras said:
“Chavez following his democratic socialist program pursues policies promoting large scale long-term public investment and spending directed at employment, social welfare and economic growth.”
In contrast, Obama, like his predecessors, is “guided by his ideological commitment to corporate financial capitalism.”
As a result, he “pours billions into bailing out Wall Street speculators, focuses on reducing the public deficit and slashes taxes and offers government subsidies” at the expense of social needs gone begging.
He also wages war on humanity, is head of state at a time America’s prison population is by far the world’s largest, persecutes Muslims and Latinos for political advantage, and supports America’s state-sponsored murder policy on death row or by bombs, missiles and shells.
Contrary to popular myth, checks and balances never constrained America’s three branches.
From inception to now, sitting governments acted with or without popular approval – within and outside the law.
America’s system is autonomous and detached in a realm of its own. It favors privileged elements over others in society.
Constraining barriers don’t exist, so sitting governments operate as they wish. As a result, they’re consistently unresponsive to rule of law standards or popular interests with rare short-lived exceptions.
Doing the right thing was never America’s long suit. In contrast, Chavez transformed Venezuela from a corporatist swamp to a socially responsible state.
After taking office in February 1999, he held a national referendum to let Venezuelans decide whether to convene a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution that embodied visionary social change.
It passed overwhelmingly followed three months later by elections to the National Assembly to which members of Chavez’s then MVR party and those allied with it won 95% of the seats.
They, in turn, drafted the revolutionary Constitucion de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela. In December 1999, a second referendum overwhelmingly approved it, changing everything responsibly from then to now.
It established a humanistic participatory social democracy, unimaginable in America. It provided real (not imagined) checks and balances in the nation’s five branches of government. They include the executive, legislative, and judicial, as well as an independent national electoral council and public power branch, giving Venezuelans a say in their own government.
This branch includes the attorney general, the defender of the people, and the comptroller general. The principle of participatory democracy was established.
Discrimination was banned. Free expression as well as fair and open elections are promoted. So are gender equity and indigenous peoples’ rights. Essential social benefits were mandated, including quality free education to the highest levels, healthcare and more.
Venezuela uses its resources responsibly. It also:
- respects rule of law principles;
promotes global solidarity, equality and social justice;
doesn’t invade its neighbors or practice torture;
rejects exploiting people for profit; and
in 1863, was the first country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
In contrast, violence and killing define America. It’s the only Western country still enforcing capital punishment.
It’s disproportionately used against racially disadvantaged minorities, mainly Blacks with about 12% of the population but over 40% of death row prisoners.
One among others stood out for having captured world attention for months – Troy Anthony Davis, an innocent man condemned to death. On September 21, Georgia scheduled his state-sponsored murder at about 7:00PM. A last minute rejected Supreme Court appeal delayed it until 10:53PM.
A lethal injection then rendered him unconscious. A second one paralyzed his muscles, suffocating him. A third induced a massive heart attack, murdering him. At 11:08PM, he was pronounced dead, a testimony to America’s moral depravity.
Throughout his ordeal, Obama stayed silent. A simple presidential act could have saved him even though only courts have judicial authority. Nonetheless, his bully pulpit power would have made the difference if used with enough presidential authority. He didn’t act. He stood aside and let Troy die, victimized by a nation uncaring about its least advantaged.
A final evening vigil failed. A one line Supreme Court denial without comment ended his last hope. Thousands protested in vain outside Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison surrounded by hundreds of police.
On September 10, a message from Troy thanked his hundreds of thousands of global supporters, saying:
“I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness. In the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith.”
“As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand.”
“I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing joy….(T)his is not a case about the death penalty. This is not a case about Troy Davis. This is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.”
“We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”
“I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form. I will one day be announcing,”
“I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”
“Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!”
He said so many others are like him. Around 2.4 million languish in America’s homeland gulag. Countless others fill its overseas prison hellholes, enduring torture and other crimes against humanity.
Davis was one of America’s 3,251 death row inmates, its 34th 2011 state-sponsored murder victim. Others like him were executed for crimes they didn’t commit. It happens with too frequent regularity. It amounts to 15th century summary judgment Inquisition barbarity. It flouts due process, judicial fairness and humanity, violating equal constitutional protection.
It disproportionately affects people of color, the poor, and disadvantaged. It legitimizes state-sponsored murder, affecting innocent as well as guilty prisoners. Moreover, it doesn’t deter crime, and is unconscionable in civilized societies.
In 2000, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan declared a moratorium on capital punishment after 13 prisoners were found innocent and released. On January 11, 2003, two days before leaving office, he cleared death row, commuting sentences for 163 men and four women to life imprisonment. He also declared a moratorium on future executions, saying:
“The facts that I have seen in reviewing each and every one of these cases raised questions not only about (their innocence), but about the fairness of the death penalty system as a whole. Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error: error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die.”
Calling Illinois’ death penalty “arbitrary, capricious, and therefore immoral,” he ended his gubernatorial tenure by pardoning four men and issuing a blanket commutation for all state prisoners on death row, adding:
“The Legislature couldn’t reform it, lawmakers won’t repeal it, and I won’t stand for it – I must act.”
In January 2011, both Houses of Illinois’ legislature voted to end capital punishment. Gov. Pat Quinn officially abolished it in March, saying it’s impossible “to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system.”
As a result, Illinois joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia (including New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Massachusetts) without capital punishment. It should have been abolished federally long ago, ending a system with no regard for human life, disproportionately affecting society’s least advantaged.
A Final Comment
What America practices one-on-one domestically, its permanent war agenda institutionalized globally on a horrific scale.
For centuries, many millions were slaughtered. Native Americans were practically exterminated. Waging war against them never stopped. Today it’s about destroying their culture.
They and other mostly people of color or less than white are targeted. Historian Gabriel Kolko calls America’s wars “violen(t), racis(t), repressi(ve) at home and abroad (and) cultural(ly) mendaci(ous).”
They’re never about liberation or democratic values. They’re to colonize, occupy and control wealth and resources. Nonbelligerent countries are destroyed. They become charnel houses. Once whole nations no longer exist.
Their corpses are carved up for profit. Their people are impoverished and exploited. Their environments become dangerously chemically toxic. Death, destruction, displacement, contamination, disease, immiseration, corruption, insecurity, fear, tyranny, and institutionalized terror are called success.
The process repeats globally to suck all worth and life from planet earth until none of either is left. Imperial America declared permanent war on humanity. It’s official policy, raging like an out-of-control inferno.
Unless stopped, everything in its path will be consumed, including planet earth as a fit place to live in. America no longer is for anyone except its privileged class, profiting at the expense of all others.
It’s the American way. Another one begs to replace it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.