Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention last night. The speech was well-received by the delegates in attendance. It was a good speech that did what a speech is supposed to do:Fire up the base.
Here are some excerpts from President Clinton's speech:
"We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity."
"I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn't feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history."
"I love our country— and I know we're coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor— to form a more perfect union."
Okay,let's talk about policies in 1994,opportunities for poor, and the "Perfect Union." In 1994 ,President Bill Clinton and then Senator Joe Biden(current Vice President) co-sponsored a bill called Omnibus Crime Bill . This bill eventually led to something called the Prison Industrial Complex. The best definition I could find that best describes what exactly this is: "The Prison Industrial Complex is a system situated at the intersection of government and private interest. It uses prisons as a solution to social, political and economic problems. It includes human rights violations, the death penalty, slave labor, policing, courts, the media, political prisoners and the elimination of dissent."
When I heard what Clinton said and being aware of the continued/misguided love he has in the black community, I thought of blog I came across last year. The blog is called: Bill Clinton was incredibly destructive for black people.
The bill that was discussed in that blog eventually became the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 . Here are some of the provisions:
1. $10.8 billion in federal matching funds to local governments to hire 100,000 new police officers over 5 years.
2. $10 billion for the construction of new federal prisons.
3. An expansion of the number of federal crimes to which the death penalty applied from two to fifty-eight (the bill also eliminated an existing statute that prohibited the execution of mentally incapacitated defendants).
4. A three strikes proposal that mandated life sentences for anyone convicted of three “violent” felonies.
5. A section that allowed children as young as thirteen to be tried as adults.
6. The creation of special courts able to deport non-citizens alleged to be “engaged in terrorist activity” on the basis of secret evidence.
7. Established guidelines for states to track sex offenders. Required states to track sex offenders by confirming their place of residence annually for ten years after their release into the community or quarterly for the rest of their lives if the sex offender was convicted of a violent sex crime.
Yes it is an opinion piece. I don't think the writer was excusing people for getting into trouble with the law. He was saying that people like Clinton and Biden have contributed to keeping people in jail. We talk about restorative justice and rehab for criminals but yet this is allowed to happen on the backend. Last night , President Clinton talked about a perfect union while having a hand in the reasons why it's not.People should know that the sitting V.P. co-sponsored a bill that has kept the prisons full and turned a profit while doing it.
The writer of the prison blog said it best:"Progressives who are loudly complaining about President Obama’s record on civil liberties (which is abysmal) were overwhelmingly SILENT about Clinton’s dramatic expansion of the prison industrial complex."
Of course, I am not expecting you to change your mind about whomever you may be voting for. I just say have all of the facts when you do.