There is a special room in hell that needs to be renamed The Vitter in dishonor of the senator from Louisiana. Sen. David Vitter introduced a provision into the already lean farm bill (which was already reducing by over five million in the Senate, over 20 million in the House) which would kick off any person who had served jail time for a violent offense. Regardless of the fact that they had already paid their debts to society and would find even meager work hard to find. I suppose that the past means something to a man who had a few, let’s call them “youthful indiscretions”, himself. I guess he considers prostitution a victim-less crime, though. No wait, he doesn’t care about victims or all kinds of violence – he only cares about a certain type of violence. Particularly that perpetrated by poor people.
Not the violence committed by corporations who dump toxics into our water, air, or land. Not the kind of violence done by legislators who try to block poor childrens’ access to medical coverage (yeah, he’s that evil). Not the kind of violence done to young people by keeping them ignorant of the safe sex options due to a misguided attempt to keep them pure from non-marital sex – something he sure couldn’t keep up (Yes. Evil). Not the kind of violence that makes it easier for military contractors to not face charges for rapes that happen on their watch (but to his credit, he felt Haliburton was unfairly targeted. Yep. That kind of evil). Not the kind of violence that makes it harder for the very poor and homeless to be able to receive and give phone calls so that they may connect with their resources, families, and job leads (Again, that kind of evil). Not the kind of violence done by corporations and government bodies that allow children to starve or live in food insecurity.
For that matter, he certainly does not care to follow the kind of violence that allows tens of millions of guns to spread around the nation. Not the kind of violence that leaves the vast majority of sexual violence unaccounted for. Not the kind of violence that starts wars or bombs children.
No, these types of violence kill millions and endanger billions yearly. But they’re not perpetuated by the poor, nor usually by people of color. The kind of violence that the poor are involved in? That people of color are disproportionately faulted for? That is the kind of violence that apparently needs to be starved out of existence.
It is not the kind of measure taken to reduce crime or violence. It won’t protect future victims – and may, along with other methods of alienating ex-felons (and their families) from mainstreamed, Middle Class, or even decent housing and food and medical coverage, lead ex-cons back into their desperation. It’s the reason why we fight to have ex-prisoners’ records expunged when possible. If they were supposed to have done their time and paid their debt to society in solitary confinement, then why do we continue to extract blood from them? Because we are not interested in redemption for the people without, for people of color – only for people with means and people who look like the main power brokers. It’s a Jim Crow for the 21st Century.
But since it doesn’t affect the rich and less so affects the white poor voters that Vitter relies on than their black counterparts (which is a sad reality of modern politics: racial divisiveness used to sanction the War on the Poorest, even if/when the poorest are white) it’s really a win-win for Vitter. He gets to look as if he’s being tough on crime while saving a few million dollars. If some poors (and particularly black poors) get hurt in the process, well, at least they’re not him.
I’m sure Vitter doesn’t care for us to bring up his past. Bring it up and he will assure you that he’s been forgiven and he’s had to live with what he did and he’s found redemption. But the past is the past and we need to look to the future. Unless you’re poor and brown or black.
Then you don’t get forgiveness.
Yeah, he’s that evil. The level of evil that takes his second opportunity as an opportunity to f**k over others who do not get the opportunity to get a second opportunity.
And the worst part? Nobody bothered stopping him. Not a Republican with a conscience. Not a Democrat with a conscience. Nobody on his committee.
It tells you what kind of people our Congress approves of. And since our Congress is elected by we, the people, it tells you a bit about ourselves too.