I am not an attorney, but I have read the Constitution. Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7PM, for a state crime, not a federal one, and so we are told the president cannot commute his sentence. Bullshit.
In the last decade alone, presidents have declared multiple wars without Congressional approval, they have defied international law through special renditions, they have run a gulag at Guantánamo Bay, they have ripped up civil liberties to read our e-mails and riffle through our trash and Obama has just waged a months-long extra-legal war on Libya.
It defies all logic and experience to assert that the leader of the most powerful military and economic empire in the history of the world cannot intervene to stop the state of Georgia from murdering an innocent man.
I don’t know exactly how these things work. An executive order? The tweaking of rules? At the very least, a full-court press of phone calls followed by an emergency press conference to demand justice could be made by Obama and his team to end this nightmare scenario of a 21st-century legal lynching.
I don’t believe he’ll do it. His handlers will scoff and repeat the popular wisdom that they themselves have popularized: this country is too reactionary and racist for a Black president to stand before the country and state legislators and plead for justice for a Black man.
Well, if we we weren’t a nation of crackers in 2008 when Obama swept into office, then why do they insist we are now? And if racist ideas have reasserted themselves in some quarters, the insistence of Obama and Co. on ignoring race all these years is at least partly to blame.
I will not waste time here in repeating the arguments for Troy’s innocence, which have compelled even Ronald Reagan’s FBI director, William Sessions, to call for a halt to his execution. The lack of evidence, no weapon, seven recantations of forced testimonies, even jurors in his trial have come forward to say that they would have voted to acquit if they knew all the facts. The man is clearly innocent.
Yet the silence from the White House is deafening. Even Forbes magazine—which calls itself “the capitalist tool”— has not only asserted Troy’s innocence, but has posed the question, “Should Obama speak out in the Troy Davis case?”
My jaw dropped this afternoon and a flush of hope came over me when I read that Georgia Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort joined forces with the Southern Center for Human Rights to call for a strike of execution workers: “We call on the members of the Injection Team: Strike! Do not follow your orders! Do not start the flow of the lethal injection chemicals. If you refuse to participate, you make it that much harder for this immoral execution to be carried out.” What a magnificent idea!
But once again, Obama is showing himself to be thoroughly beholden to the class of small-minded bigots whose greed, arrogance and indifference shape their every action. Obama is nobody’s dupe. Through his silence on this, like so much else throughout our Not-So-Great Depression, Obama shows himself to be one of them.
If they do execute Troy Davis tomorrow night, at least some of Troy’s blood will be on Obama’s hands.
What you can do now
Given the urgency and the potential we still have to stop Troy’s execution, do what you can. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, one person who can actually withdraw the death warrant is Judge Penny Freesemann. Call her at 912-652-7252. If you haven’t signed petitions or made calls to the DA’s office, please click here and do so now.
Though I was scheduled to speak up in Harlem Wednesday evening, it has been postponed a week, and instead the International Socialist Organization is joining forces with Amnesty International and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and turning over the night to a rally, vigil and march for Troy. We will meet at 6:30 at the State Building on 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and will then march to St. Mary’s Church at 521 W. 126th St. for an indoor rally at 7PM. See you there!