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Oklahoma Death and Other American Problems--Who's Ultimately Responsible?

Illustration for article titled Oklahoma Death and Other American Problems--Whos Ultimately Responsible?

I just finished Rachel Maddow's superlative coverage of the death penalty and execution fiasco in Oklahoma. This was after I saw a little bit of Chris Hayes's show on the same topic. The reason I saw a little bit was because I yelled at my TV, "Who's electing them?" when I saw governor Mary Fallin, and then turned off the TV.


So this is another one of those posts. Politicians set the laws, but in democracies, they are elected by the people to do so. They are the peoples' servants and they do their will. Ideally, any law that the politicians pass therefore are what the people want.

Do Americans want botched state executions that torture the prisoners? If they don't and Oklahoma doesn't solve its problem, will Mary Fallin and all those legislators who run on a pro-death penalty platform be reelected? If they are, then the people of the state will have answered the top question in the affirmative.


Which is fine if the culture wants it that way. It won't solve the problem of botched executions, but the state will have followed the people, as in democracies, they're supposed to do. If American culture wants to keep national, state and individual problems unsolved, and make it harder for Americans to succeed, make it harder for them to gain justice, make it harder for them to live, then that should be reflected in the election of politicians who do nothing and who make problems worse.

But my guess is that the culture and the American people don't want those things. The people want good lives where they can live in a country that allows them to prosper, that fixes problems for their children, that is fair and just, that doesn't torture people. So the question becomes: if Americans want to live in that country, why do they keep electing people who make it harder for them to do so?

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