Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rick Perry and the Death Penalty

I'm not sure what bothered me more in the GOP debate last night: the creepy round of applause that followed Brian Williams' mention of the 234 executions that Rick Perry has overseen during his terms as Governor of Texas; or Perry's answer to the question regarding whether he ever struggles with the decision to execute a human being.

“I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place,” was Perry's response. I find this an utterly disturbing statement from a man who is in a position to determine the life or death of so many people. And if he realizes his ambition to become President of the United States, this is likely the same attitude with which he would approach the decision of whether or not to use American military force.

Decisiveness and self-confidence are certainly qualities that we want to see in our political leaders. However, these qualities have to be balanced with a measure of introspection, thoughtfulness, and reflection. Based on his performance last night's debate, it seems that Perry lacks these tempering qualities. That can be a very dangerous shortcoming in a president.

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