Monday, February 05, 2007

From Maryland all the way...

On February 1, The Washington Post published an interesting editorial on Martin O'Malley, the incumbent governor of Maryland. A few weeks into office only, the former mayor of Baltimore is already making his voice heard: O'Malley calls for a staunch position against capital punishment - to the surprise of many who would have never predicted such an initiative based on his electoral campaign. O'Malley swift policy U-turn justifiably draws quite some attention for yet another reason: the state and the country remain divided along -at times stiff- fault lines over a number of social (policy) issues - the death penalty is only one of many controversial topics.

For what it really is, O'Malley's position is important as it constitutes an endorsement of human rights principles in what is a long struggle for the implementation of a human rights culture. Conversely, it becomes crucial in the context of the American culture as the United States is still struggling with concepts of justice attribution and punishment. One of the very few consolidated democracies that is still resorting to the death penalty as a correction method, the United States distinguishes itself from its liberal counterparts by engaging in a practice to be found primarily in nondemocratic countries, or, [to imitate a phraseology popular among US government officials,] "in countries failing to espouse liberty and such fundamental virtues". Still, the consistent use of death penalty by the world's most fervent proponent of human rights is problematic and counterintuitive in itself.

For all the controversy it may spur and all the praise it will receive, O'Malley's decision holds a further connotation as it becomes the embodiment of what "standing by one's principles" truly means. A long-time campaigner against capital punishment, O'Malley neither abandoned his core principles nor decided to hide himself behind them once in power. In a cost/benefit structured framework, O'Malley's deviation is highly dissonant to the ears of many political advisers or policy makers and perhaps even justifiably so. Yet at the same time one wonders whether the exemplary valor embedded in a courageous act, as this one, could in fact be providing with a raison d'être: to the rational scornful conclusion that rejects this line of thought one juxtaposes the alternative standpoint common to those who see corrosion and saturation in politics, corruption and individualism aspiring primarily, if not solely, to re-election - all frequent occurrences in many countries. Not surprisingly therefore one might feel inclined to give at least a chance to something different, something genuine. Against the sour taste of decadent politics, risk may acquire an unprecedented sweetness.

In the merciless battlefield we conventionally call politics, one hopes that ingenuity and initiative will be given some room to breathe. That Maryland borders congested Washington D.C. is a source of concern and a reason for hope at the same time.

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Reference

The Washington Post Editorial: A governor stands up

4 comments:

alzap said...

"In the merciless battlefield we conventionally call politics, one hopes that ingenuity and initiative will be given some room to breathe. That Maryland borders congested Washington D.C. is a source of concern and a reason for hope at the same time."

Mr O'Malley thank you!

Μπράβο Αναστασία.
Να είσαι καλά.
Πολλά πολλά φιλιά.

AC Stranger said...

Η θανατικη ποινη τους μαρανε.

doh said...

Καταρχήν θα ήθελα να σε συγχαρώ για τη προχθεσινή σου τοποθέτηση (κυρίως το 2ο σχολιό σου) για τους "Εβραίους Διανοούμενους κ την Ελευθερία της Κριτικής" στις "Διαστάσεις".

Σχετικά με το δικό σου θέμα εδώ, κοίταξε λίγο το www.radicalparty.org..ίσως το ξέρεις

tanx για τη φιλοξενία, κ αν προτιμάς in English την επόμενη.. οκ

Pixie said...

This is so hopeful that a a governor that comes from USA that still exercises capital punishment is voicing his opinion against it.Capital punishment constitutes a violation of the human rights and intents to punish and not to reform.Its so hypocritical if you think about it.

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