Election day was a revelation to many people, mostly divided into two broad categories, those who are excited and those who are disappointed.[i]
Leonard Peltier must be included in the latter.
As January 20th approaches and The List gets longer and doesn’t include his name there was probably the lingering hope that if Hilary Clinton was elected he may have had one more opportunity for clemency consideration. There was a time, when then President Clinton was leaving office that Peltier was on the short-list for release. It didn’t obviously happen but that’s a story for another day. The Clinton’s were publicly criticized for not releasing Peltier as they allegedly had promised. In any case, and as a reminder to remaining Peltierites, Peltier’s ingratitude was obvious and predictable, and even if President Obama may give any consideration to commuting his sentence we can simply repeat Peltier’s public pronouncement, “These politicians are such sleazebags that you just don’t know.” [ii]
President Obama remains committed to commuting sentences of those who received long prison sentences for relatively minor drug offenses. The reduction of sentences has been consistent and has not included murderers. It doesn’t include unrepentant cop killers.[iii]
Since April 30, 2000 there have been only a few passing references of a personal nature; they are included in the Editorial Essays, Pilgrimage to Pine Ridge and Mission to Lewisburg.[iv] This was done because the purpose of the NPPA was, and remains, to honor the memory and sacrifice of two brave young FBI agents who were brutally murdered in the line of duty, as well as fostering public knowledge dispelling the myth and folklore surrounding their remorseless killer. Peltier must also serve the remainder of his consecutive life sentences (plus seven years for the armed escape from USP Lompoc).
Recently celebrating our 50th anniversary, my wife and I went to Hawaii for two weeks, having a wonderful second honeymoon and visiting four islands, and of course, Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. It was a moving experience, especially for a patriotic American and veteran to contemplate the historical significance, bravery and sacrifice on that fateful day.
The memorial included a video of the events leading up to and the attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. However, there was one comment during the short film that gave pause and seemed inappropriate.[v]
The film ended with, “They will never be forgotten.”
Certainly, those brave servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Nor will Jack Coler and Ron Williams.
“In the Spirit…”
[i] For those who demonstrated their disagreement with the election results, that is their right. For those lawless and destructive demonstrators, they deserve to be prosecuted. For those who burned the American flag they do that under the very freedom democracy provides and protects even if an unquestionably lowly act for any citizen. They need to ask themselves a basic question and consider an alternative: Why is it that no one is trying to escape from the United States? And, they are perfectly free to consider living in some other country. Looking back, if you recall, for those who said they would leave America if George Bush was elected, guess, what? They are still here.
http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html (see, David Geffen)
[v] Although the narrator did mention Japan’s invasion and war with China and imperialist expansion into Southeast Asia, the U.S. oil embargo of Japan, and the decision to locate the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii, the commentary was that these developments gave Japan no option but to go to war. Within the context of the events leading up to the U.S. entry into WWII, I felt the “no option” statement was inappropriate. America was in a defensive posture, felt threatened while many countries tried to slow Japanese imperialist aggression. Japan did have an option but chose war instead.