Recently the media has been awash in allegations by Gennifer Flowers, a nightclub singer, that she had carried on a 12 year love affair with Democratic Party presidential candidate Bill Clinton. Clinton and his wife have both appeared on TV and numerous press conferences to deny Flowers' allegation, and at the same time refuse to answer questions about their personal lives. Cynics have dismissed their denials as those of a pair of yuppies that will do anything to get elected.
The mainstream media has given heavy coverage to the "story" (which was originally bought by supermarket tabloid The Star ) by giving the appearance of trying to discuss whether or not to discuss the story while giving it saturation coverage. While a number of media personalities say that Clinton's fidelity is not relevant to whether or not he is qualified to be president, it does speak of his character and voters should be aware of this.
What voters should also be aware of in Clinton's "character" is his cynical and callous manipulation of the death penalty to try and get elected. On January 31, 1992, Rickey Ray Rector was executed by lethal injection in Arkansas. Clinton refused to grant clemency to Rector, a mentally retarded black man convicted of killing a cop. Clinton left the campaign trail to return to Arkansas, the state of which he is governor, to be on hand for the execution. His public relations staff "were burning up the phone lines, pressing reporters to emphasize how their candidate was distancing himself from what the buttoned down, striped shirt pundits call the 'democrats soft on crime liberal image'." ( Village Voice , Feb. 4, 1992).
George Bush announced he would "do anything I have to" to get reelected. Clinton isn't being left out, if a retarded black man has to die so Clinton can become president, that's just too bad. Clinton claims to have compassion for the working class yet is willing to sacrifice the life of the poor and disadvantaged to avoid the stigma of being "soft on crime." It's ironic that the mainstream media gave the event little attention. Of course then Rector will have died for nothing. It is the cynical and manipulative use of the death penalty and crime issues that has been used to elect politicians in this country since Nixon first used it in 1968. Every year harsher and harsher laws are passed; more prisoners are executed; more civil rights are eroded and politicians use the bogeyman of street crime to frighten the middle class into electing them and paying for more prisons, more police, all with the illusion that this will buy "security." The result is that while F.B.I. statistics show reported crime declining in many areas, a majority of citizens are more fearful and insecure than ever. The "solution" advanced by Clinton, Bush and company has nothing to offer beyond locking people up or killing them. Is it any wonder their economic programs don't fare much better?
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