The execution of Stanley Williams gives the lie to this nation’s pretense of being a civilized society governed by moral concepts derived from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, himself a victim of capital punishment. In the process, it also renders laughable the current Karl Rove–inspired attempt to engender a wedge issue over a putative “war on Christmas” in the United States—if there is such a war, it is being waged by Rove and his minions in the media who use the same tactics once employed by white Southern elites to solidify their rule, except that, instead of pitting poor whites against even poorer blacks with the bogus threat of “racial contamination,” the Rovians create equally bogus issues like gay marriage and the war on Christmas to incite their fundamentalist and Evangelical backers into working against their own self-interest.
And while we’re on the theme, it should be noted that the execution serves as yet another reminder that, throughout our history, the killing of black men has been one of our more popular forms of public entertainment—call Williams’ death, then, a kind of early kickoff to the holiday festivities, courtesy of the Governator. In fact, the long and dishonorable mistreatment of our black citizens explains why 62 percent of Black Americans oppose capital punishment while nearly 70 of white Americans support it.
Murdering a man who has already spent a quarter century behind bars and would have spent the rest of his days in jail, posing no threat to society, proves that capital punishment is about vengeance, not justice, not public safety. Increasingly, the United States is coming to resemble one of those “failed states” we worry so much about overseas—unable to care for the needs of its own citizens (i.e., New Orleans), ruled by a brutal and corrupt clique. May God have mercy on Stanley Williams. May God have mercy on the rest of us, too.
And Merry Christmas, everyone.