Tuesday, July 31, 2007


What's an el tee ee?

In organizing and activism talk it is not uncommon to come across acronyms or abbreviations for just about everything. I admit, I am a fan of these, so the next time you hear me say something along the lines of "hey, it would be great if we could generate a el tee ee, or LTE," you'll know that I am referring to a Letter to the Editor. Or, you can slap me upside the head and insist that I state their respective full names.

Tim McDonald, a dedicated TCASK activist and frequent LTE writer, had a great one published in the Jackson Sun in response to the Juan Melendez article:

America not a nation of equals under the law

Recently, Juan Melendez came to Jackson to tell us of his 18 years on death row as an innocent man. Today, the pope asks us to spare Troy Anthony Davis, another likely innocent man soon to be executed. Columnist Leonard Pitts says a majority of us feel innocent people are executed and asks why we, a logical people, do nothing about it.

I do not feel logic has anything to do with this. It is in our nature; we the American majority. For centuries, we killed Native Americans with bullets or smallpox-infested blankets. For centuries, we whipped, lynched or burned alive African Americans. All this was done in the name of Manifest Destiny, our European right to possess and exploit this land we call the United States of America. In this process, our ancestors lost their Christian values. Empathy, compassion and justice for all gave way to greed and a feeling of social superiority by the majority.

Look to our prison system, our slums, our death row. All these people are our fellow Americans, but we have no compassion for them, even when they are innocent of wrongdoing. Perhaps we hate them because they remind us of our past, of who we are. They stand as reminders of the dark side to American prosperity, to the betrayal of the "equality concept" of the Constitution.

America is not a nation of equals. Just ask Juan Melendez or any of the other millions who have suffered at the hands of the criminal justice system.

Tim McDonald


Great work Tim! It's always very important to write letters to the editor in response to articles about the death penalty because legislators truly read that section to understand the pulse of their constituency.

Comments :
It's kinda like the powers that be find themselves on an uneven playing field and care more about "winning" than about fairness and justice. Many folks like Tim have found that this kinda "winning" equates to a huge loss, everytime.
All Tennesseans need to step up to the plate like Tim and declare that Tennessee do the right thing and end the death penalty.
During and after that, prison reform and increased societal repair is in order
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