Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Voting for Life

Today is the Democratic primary in Manhattan. I think I am the only person not running for borough president. I may also have been the only person who voted.

On my way to the polls this evening after work, I passed by Leslie Crocker Snyder, candidate for district attorney, who was greeting voters on Cabrini Boulevard. (A nice testament to my neighborhood's political influence, of which I'm rather proud.)

The New York Times wrote a compelling editorial endorsing Ms. Snyder, and I'll give her props for marching right in front of us in the pride parade this year.

The incumbent, Robert Morgenthau, has held his post for thirty-some years. He is 86 years old. That in itself is a consideration. I accept the Times' position that it's time for a change.

However, Ms. Snyder supports the death penalty. Now, she did go to the trouble of leaving me (and presumably every other registered Democrat in the City) several phone messages explaining that she is opposed to the death penalty except in extreme cases, such as terrorism.

I am, for religious reasons, categorically opposed to the death penalty. But there's a host of practical reasons to oppose the death penalty as well. For example, there is no evidence that the death penalty is any sort of deterrent; in fact, states which employ the death penalty have higher crime rates than those that do not. And I fail to see how execution, which would immortalize a terrorist as a martyr, could succeed in deterring someone determined to blow himself up or fly an airplane into a building.

A handsome, suited-up young man directed my attention to the exceptionally attractive woman (she looks like the love-child of Ann Coulter and Martha Stewart) and invited me to "meet Leslie Crocker Snyder!" I didn't even pause. I couldn't look her in the eye, knowing that I was already committed to voting for Morgenthau on this one single issue. I tried to smile, but I think it came out more of a grimace. "Good luck," I said, sincerely.

I do wish her luck. I'm sure she would make a fine district attorney, and the Times is probably right that we need a change. But I had to vote my conscience.

UPDATE: Mr. Morgenthau won with 59% of the vote.


Jon said...

I voted. For Brian Ellner, no less! I figure anyone who can't get his ad to air on Fox is my kind of candidate...

Anthony said...

Seems you and I both suffer from being bound by personal ethics, Andy!

Good to see your principles don't get in the way of voting for change for change's sake.

Anonymous said...

There is no moment when I am prouder as a parent than when I see you "voting your conscience." We do not agree on the death penalty because I see it as a way to save money. If I had my way I would keep offenders in prison as long as they live to truly punish them, but since we have to consider costs these days I would vote for the death penalty on that basis alone. We can agree to disagree. But if I have raised a child who has a conscience I could not ask for more.