Senator Bernie Sanders has been losing ground to Senator Elizabeth Warren in the race for the Democratic nomination and is apparently getting desperate. He has already proposed some of the most radical, socialist ideas of the campaign. Those ideas include free college tuition and free medical care (Medicare for all). Such promises are obvious “pie in the sky” attempts to buy votes with unattainable goals. It would be impossible to raise taxes sufficiently to pay for these wildly expensive programs. Apparently in his attempt to prevent further slippage in the polls, Bernie has come out with his proposals to reform the justice system. He would begin with eliminating the death penalty, allowing criminals to vote (even while incarcerated) and providing safe zones where IV drug users can safely inject their drugs. It appears that Bernie has gone off the deep end with his appeal to buy votes from certain classes. What will Senator Sanders be proposing next, reparation payments? I have never understood the liberal opposition to the death penalty while being in favor of a woman’s right to abort a fetus. The death penalty is not imposed on criminals for minor offenses. The death sentence is handed down for the most heinous of crimes, often pre-meditated murder(s) that is often gruesome in nature. As an “ultimate” sentence the death penalty may or may not serve as a deterrent to potential criminals. It does offer some comfort to families of victims (and to society in general) knowing that a vicious individual is no longer capable of harming another human. Abortion, on the other hand, is enforcing a death sentence on a child who has never had an opportunity to live, much less commit a crime.
Some of Bernie’s criminal justice reforms are probably long overdue, such as eliminating mandatory sentencing and legalizing recreational marijuana use. It is confusing to law enforcement and civilians alike when federal classification and treatment of marijuana is different from state regulation. Although I don’t condone the use of marijuana, there should be uniformity throughout the country regarding its possession and consumption. I don’t agree with the principle of allowing those incarcerated to vote. Once a sentence has been served and the debt to society paid, I see no reason the right to vote should not be restored to a convicted criminal (provided they are a U.S. citizen). Jail serves as no threat to criminals if they are provided all their basic needs and still allowed to vote in elections as well. Our justice system is not perfect, but we must have something in place to protect the populace. A “catch and release” system is ineffective and dangerous to everyone involved. Each criminal act should be judged on its own merits and the mandatory sentencing laws pushed through Congress during the Clinton years disrupted families and may have increased crime in the long term. I’m afraid Bernie’s desperation moves will fall flat; you can’t be all things to all people.