The Weak Knees Of The GOP
Take a journey with me for a moment, won't you? Imagine that you lived in a country with two major political parties that together essentially hold every office in the land.
Party A historically has presented itself as tough on crime. It is called, often by itself, "The Daddy Party," both to highlight their overall toughness and to paint the other party as weak. (In Party A, it's not offensive to imply that all women are weak. Party A says, "Deal with it.") Party A has major ties to the defense industry, the military and consider it offensive and unpatriotic to not enthusiastically support the two wars this country is currently engaged in. In many states, measures supported by Party A have led to huge expansions of prisons, and a swollen, overcrowded prison population.
Party B is, historically, the party that is considered less focused on issues like crime and homeland security than instead focused on education, healthcare and poverty. Party B has many vocal members against the war, and although past leaders from Party B have passed sweeping crime reform with historic results, they are still considered the soft party. More strident members of Party A call Party B's members "socialists," and suggest that they want the country to lose its wars because they hate the country.
So, that's our totally hypothetical setting.
Now, keep following along. In the course of these wars, the country has placed what it considers the "worst of the worst" in a secluded, off-shore prison. It bears mentioning that many of these were nothing close to the worst of anything, and were released after many years of having no rights. Party A thinks this is just part of the war, and boasts about how much it loves this prison. (They even make shirts!) When some members of Party B suggested this prison should be closed in the past, and that the worldwide accepted conventions on prisoner treatment should be adhered to, Party A called Party B a bunch of wusses. (To put it mildly.)
Unfortunately for Party A, recent elections have shown that the country preferred the policies of Party B by a substantial majority, and Party B is going ahead with its plans to close this prison. The plan includes moving some of these prisoners to prisons that are not off-shore, but instead within the borders of the country. These "SuperMax" prisons already hold terrorists and the most dangerous criminals, and have never had an escape.
Party B is also in the process of setting up a criminal trial of the most dangerous prisoner there, a man who has admitted to acts of terrorism against this country, the most vile act of warfare ever waged on this country's soil.
OK, so that's our setting.
Now...imagine that one of these two parties is horrified by the idea of closing this prison and moving the prisoners to maximum security prisons. They go public, suggesting that these prisons are so shoddy that they risk the streets being run amok with terrorists, or that while in prison they'll indoctrinate others - even though the prisoners would be in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
As for the criminal trial, this same party is virulently against it. Their argument? That the criminal justice system is so flimsy that this villain could get away on a technicality. Justice be damned, they say, we HAVE to use military tribunals against him, otherwise the system we use for ourselves is so weak, so shoddy, that we're doomed.
Party A is, of course, the Republican Party, and the ones terrified of due process and the prison system.
Party B is, of course, the Democratic Party, and the ones who have no idea what to do about Party A in this situation. Part of this, of course, is that the media presents the Republican fears as being valid concerns - after all, the Republicans are tough on crime! Their fears must be well grounded.
But no ... in fact, it's a pretty easy reach to see that Republican concerns here can only be explained by one of two explanations:
- They are genuinely concerned with the efficacy of the prison and judicial system, and don't trust its results whatsoever.
- They are saying this purely for possible political gain, to portray the Democrats as being irresponsible with national defense, and to use fear as a weapon.
I'll let you decide which of those options is most likely.