You have probably read about the big controversy surrounding Terry McAuliffe’s decision to restore the rights of 206,000 “former criminals” who have completed their prison terms and parole. Republican leaders claim that the Governor is more concerned about getting voters for Hillary than he is about whether he allows “violent criminals” to sit on juries judging other violent criminals. The media says these “former criminals” will vote for Democrats because so many of them are black.
Frankly, it all seems like political pandering to me. McAulliff is accused of trying to deliver a victory in Virginia to Hillary so he can gain a position in her Cabinet. He may well be doing that. “Republican leaders” are trying to “fire up the base” so that we will come out to reelect them so they can “do something” about the Governor’s actions. Yes, there are serious questions as to the legality of what the Governor is attempting, and those questions should be pursued. But I’d like for us to look at an important point that we may – in our hurry to block the Governor’s plans – forget.
These “former criminals” are, first of all, people. They broke one or more laws. They were convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned. Now they have served their sentences, paid their penalties, and should be allowed to reenter society without stigma. The majority of these people just want to reconnect with their families and get on with their lives. As citizens of a nation founded on Christian principles, we need to not only let them; we need to help them do so.
May I suggest that instead of stereotyping them, we find out who these people are, welcome them to our local committees, hold intelligent conversations with them about their and our futures, and realize that they can agree with us if we present a rational argument for the values we present in our Republican creed.
I talked with a white, male, Virginia Republican who actually joined his local chapter of the NAACP. He discovered that members of local NAACP chapters are as conservative in their values as we are. (It’s the national organization that is so liberal.) He also discovered that they viewed us as caricatures, just as too many of us view them. He was able to have Republicans come speak to their meetings about our values, and everyone was shocked at how much agreement there was between the two groups.
My point is that the Governor has not created a “horrible happening.” If his actions pass the legal hurdles, he has created a golden opportunity for us to reach out to a community of people who have learned to distrust us, and show that we are not what the Democrats and the media paint us to be. Let the political elite yell at each other. It makes good theater but lousy politics. Go meet some folks who have paid their debts and welcome them back to society. You might find some excellent political colleagues. You might even find a good friend.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.
P.S. Our Sixth District Convention is coming up in three weeks. Hopefully as you have read my emails over these past several weeks, I have earned your confidence and your vote.
Also, if you would like to respond to my emails, do not “Reply” to them. (There’s a glitch somewhere). Instead, just compose a new message and send it to me at Doc@VoteDocTroxel.com.