The quality of mercy
I've been hearing a lot how Steven Spielberg's movie "Lincoln" resonates politically with our times: entrenched opposition and the need for half-loaf compromise to move forward. I agree, but there's one area in which two Illinois citizens, presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, are radically different: mercy.
Obama says he emulates Lincoln, especially in bringing political rivals into his administration. But when it comes to granting pardons, charity-for-all Lincoln beats Obama hands down, as shown in the movie. Consider the number of pardons Obama's granted with the number he's rejected compared to our past five presidents:
• Ronald Reagan: 1 in 8
• George H.W. Bush: 1 in 19
• Bill Clinton: 1 in 16
• George W. Bush: 1 in 55
• Barack Obama: 1 in 290
Thousands of young men and women are wasting away in federal prisons just for possessing small amounts of marijuana. They could be productive, taxpaying, contributing members of society; instead, they're costing the nation millions to construct prisons and to house and feed them.
With all his elections past, it's time for Obama to be a little more like President Reagan, if not Lincoln.
Salt Lake City
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