When the holidays roll around, you can always count on a New York Times op-ed contributor to come along and try to suck the fun from it, which of course ends up having the reverse effect creates a nice bit of comedy. This year is no different.

Here’s the introduction:

In just a few days, we will once again endure the annual spectacle of the president of the United States pardoning a turkey that would otherwise have been fated for the Thanksgiving table. This event is typically covered in the media as a light-hearted bit of fluff — and fluff is what it might well be, if there were not actual humans on death row awaiting similar intervention. In the current American context, however, the turkey pardon is a distasteful parody of the strange power vested in politicians to decide the earthly fates of death-row prisoners. There is in it an implicit acknowledgment that the killing of these prisoners is a practice that bears real, non-jocular comparison to the ritual slaughter of birds for feasts.

I am not saying that this slaughter of birds for food is wrong ? not here anyway ? but only that the parallel the presidential ritual invites us to notice is revealing. To riff on Dostoyevsky’s famous line about prisoners: you can tell what a nation is like by the way it treats its turkeys. Obama’s pardoning of one randomly selected bird at Thanksgiving not only carries with it an implicit validation of the slaughtering of millions of other turkeys. It also involves an implicit validation of the parallel practice for human beings, in which the occasional death-row inmate is pardoned, or given a stay by the hidden reasoning of an increasingly capricious Supreme Court, even as the majority of condemned prisoners are not so lucky. In this respect, the Thanksgiving pardon is an acknowledgment of the arbitrariness of the system of capital punishment.

Does this guy know how to party, or what?

So I guess this year Obama should chop the head off the turkey instead of pardoning it just to be consistent with the justice system? I think that’s the message. If that’ what he wants, this author should have supported Sarah Palin for president.



Update: Maybe this will make the guy who wrote that column happy.


6 Responses to “NYT Op-Ed: Capital Punishment and Turkey Pardons”

  1. backwoodsconsr on November 22nd, 2011 12:56 pm

    I can't tell from looking at that picture if Obama is pardoning the turkey or telling it to "Be healed!"

  2. backwoodsconsr on November 22nd, 2011 1:22 pm

    Obama to Chief of Staff: "I forget. What is it that's on the agenda today?"

    Chief of Staff: "Today is the day we pardon the national turkey."

    Obama: "Oh. Pardon me."

  3. Pasadena Phil on November 22nd, 2011 1:22 pm

    And here in LA, criminal LA mayor will be giiving Occupiers 10,000 ft of office space and farmland for $1 per year. Taxpayers pay the rest.


    As we have been learning as we watch Bloomberg grant special status to the OWSers in NY, this isn't a problem limited to CA but everywhere that you find liberal sanctuary cities dominated by government employee unions.

  4. Marshall_Will on November 22nd, 2011 2:35 pm

    And who appointed the City to just give away public resources for (1) special interest group? Let 'em get violent. See if we care!? Caving like this will only enable and further embolden them to make more demands.

    3/4ths of them probably aren't even FROM L.A? This is like when SF starting giving $400 a mo. CASH to the homeless. Dumb!

  5. Marshall_Will on November 22nd, 2011 2:28 pm

    Was that an 'article' or a contest to see how many times you can use the word implicit? 'Somebody'… learned a new word today!

    Just say Free Mumia and get it over with flake! Notice he clings to the term "killing" of Def' Row prisoners rather than executing. Like they were out on parole and we said the hell w/ it and just did a drive-by as they likely did their victims?

    Doesn't that whole charade just make you want to hop the fence at a turkey farm and start wringing necks!? Speaking… 'who' do the Tigers play Thursday..?

  6. Hyperfobea on November 22nd, 2011 5:01 pm

    The article writer cannot be serious. Must have been tongue-in-cheek disguised as profundity, or something.

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