Before people start wondering if I've somehow found my way to the wrong online community, I feel obligated to assure you all that I am a staunch liberal hippie commie atheist socialist bisexual Kenyan Nazi tree-fucking Bolshevik bastard. Or some of those, at least--I only pretend to be the rest when I'm around people who still think Bush 2.0 was a good President.
But credit must be given where credit is due.
As you no doubt will agree, it's hard to find anything admirable about almost anything the Repubs do these days. So when I read this NYT article, entitled "Trend to Lighten Harsh Sentences Catches on in Conservative States," I admit my interest was piqued.
Obviously, though, it's only because of budget cutting, right? Of course! From the article:
More than a dozen states in recent years have taken steps to reduce the costs to taxpayers of keeping so many criminals locked up. As crime rates have steadily declined to 40-year lows, draining the political potency from crime fears, the fiscal crunch has started to prompt a broad rethinking about alternatives to incarceration.
And some more:
[I]n the past two years, many more states [besides New York and Texas] have enacted — or are considering adopting in their 2012 legislative sessions — similar policies, including reducing prison time for low-level drug offenders or diverting them into treatment; granting early release to well-behaved or elderly inmates; expanding job training and re-entry programs; and instituting penalties other than a return to prison for technical violations of parole or probation, like missing a meeting.
Now before people get all up in arms about it, yes, Republicans are doing this out of a misplaced sense of economic and fiscal righteousness. But the fact of the matter is Republican-controlled states are finally enacting criminal justice practices which liberals have backed for years, (i.e. those that are based on factual evidence). And the best part is, no one (including the a-holes all of us have been putting up with who have simply chosen to ignore factual evidence up until now) can deny these strategies are working, significantly more effectively too than the harsh retributionist policies Republicans are so hard for.
Dems and other liberals should be screaming this shit from the rooftops. Want to save money? Lower crime rates? Then vote Democrat (or at least for Republicans who enact our policies)!
So maybe I'm giving the ol' Elephants too much credit in saying their logic is leading them to what our logic has shown us to be true all along. Perhaps stumbling blindly into the solution as an unintended consequence of irrational economic policy was all they really needed after all. Although, that being the case, we'd best strike that thing about voting Republican at all. Back to the old slogan: Vote Democrat!
At the very least, though, it does show that not all Republicans are incapable of confronting reality, that some still are yet to be extinct who can admit to good policy when they see it, even if it did take way too many years, way too many lives, and way too much of the people's money. And that's something to be hopeful about, especially after what we saw in the latest Republican Presidential Debate and the fiasco that was the Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis. Maybe there's reason to believe reason still matter in public policy.
Maybe. But I doubt it.