3/30/2009

Giving A Politician Credit When It's Due...

Generally I'm pretty cynical about the motivations of politicians. However, I do like to acknowledge political courage when I see it. I haven't always agreed with Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), but after reading THIS ARTICLE by Glenn Greenwald I have a lot more faith in his ability to ignore political expediency and take a stand on an issue that others wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole - the issue of prison reform. I suggest you read the article in full, but here are a few interesting statistics that clearly show reform is needed:
  • The United States has 5% of the world's total population, yet has 25% of the world's total prison population. Although I knew we Americans were incarceration-happy, I didn't realize to what degree.
  • In 1980 we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison. Today that number is over 500,000, an increase of 1200%. A significant percentage of these people are in prison for possession or other non-violent offenses.
  • African-Americans are about 12% of our population. Contrary to a lot of thought and rhetoric, their drug use rate in terms of frequent drug use is about the same as all other elements of our society - about 14%. Yet they end up being 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced to prison.
I agree with Sen. Webb. Something is out of whack. This is something that deserves attention in comprehensive way.

I salute you, Sen. Webb, and your balls of steel.

7 comments:

Cora said...

You're right. That is actually quite shocking.

vikkitikkitavi said...

A military background cuts you a lot of slack, don't it? You'd never see any other type of Democrat being able to pull some of his positions off.

Greta said...

What exactly are you saying here guy? We should legalize mary-juana? Because that's what I'm hearing. Or maybe I'm just thinking I'm hearing it. Oh man.

Megan said...

V - I think he also gets cut a lot of slack (as a Dem) because of who he replaced -- I mean, in the back of your mind you're always thinking "thank GOD we got rid of Allen." Plus he does actually have balls.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

Yup- A former Reagan man earning redemption. If only all the others followed...

kirby said...

This is also the guy who basically told Bush to go screw himself when Bush asked how his son was doing in Iraq.

Grant Miller said...

I would have preferred if Obama chose him for VP over Biden. I've never been a fan of Biden.