In the song “Folsom Prison Blues,” Johnny Cash captures the lament of the felons waiting to get out of prison. Cash sings, “Well if they freed me from this prison, if that railroad train was mine, I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line. Far from Folsom Prison, that’s where I want to stay, and I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.”
But Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, has a different vision. You see, in America, felons have traditionally returned to society with restricted rights. In some states, they lose the right to vote. In many jurisdictions, they lose the right to sit on a jury. And more widely, they’re prohibited from serving as law enforcement officers.
These restrictions are intended to protect society.
But Holder is upset with this tradition, and he wants to see it changed. In a widely anticipated speech at Georgetown University this month, Holder stepped into the bully pulpit and declared that restrictions on felons’ voting rights are wrong and immoral.
Holder said, “The current scope of these policies is not only too significant to ignore, it is also too unjust to tolerate… These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they’re also counterproductive… These laws increase the likelihood that they will commit future crimes; they undermine the re-entry process.”
I doubt Holder seriously believes that felons commit crimes because they don’t have voting rights. Then again, logic has never been his strong suit. This is the man who allowed high-powered firearms to be sold to Mexican drug cartels in his drive to reduce violence at the border.
The Not-So-Hidden Agenda
The real purpose behind Holder’s behavior is stacking the deck for left-wing politicians. Polling shows that when past felons are allowed to vote, they vote in overwhelming numbers for candidates who are soft on crime. Right now, those politicians are aligned with Obama and Holder.
“That speech showed how political he is,” Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official, told The Hill newspaper. “All he talks about is the restoration of voting rights for felons. What he fails to mention is the fact that you don’t just lose your right to vote. In most states, you lose your rights to own a gun, to sit on a jury, to engage in certain kinds of employment like being a police officer. Nowhere does he say a word about restoring those rights. That tells me he is only interested in the potential votes.”
On top of that, Holder is also focused on two high-profile cases in North Carolina and Texas that could have a significant impact on those states’ elections. In each case, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is contending that certain laws concerning voter ID and early voting have the practical results of disfavoring minority voters. The DOJ wants these laws struck down before the next election.
It seems that Holder views every issue through the prism of racism. He twists logic and hopes no one catches on. In the Georgetown speech, he pointed out that 1 in 13 black Americans are precluded from voting, often because of a past criminal conviction. “They are prevented from exercising a fundamental right,” he argues.
Actually, voting is a privilege that can be taken away from citizens who have demonstrated a lack of integrity, honesty, and character.
But as we know, Holder isn’t bothered by faulty integrity. He was held in contempt by the House of Representatives in 2012 following the Fast and Furious scandal. And if Obama had a spine, he would’ve fired Holder.
Instead, the two ethically challenged leaders blunder on, attempting to change America from a republic to a kleptocracy.
There’s still hope, though. Currently, 140 members of Congress have co-sponsored legislation seeking Eric Holder’s immediate resignation. It’s a bill long overdue for passage. In the words of Johnny Cash, it’s time for Attorney General Eric Holder to move “a little farther down the line,” and out of this important office.
This commentary originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath