No victory for Trump
When reading Dr. Alveda King’s most recent piece published in the Ledger-Enquirer, I found her characterization of President Trump to be laughable at best.
I will from the outset say that the FIRST STEP Act will bring necessary reform to a criminal justice system which has systematically oppressed whole groups of individuals. However, to characterize this legislation as some great example of President Trump’s “leadership on the issue” clearly ignores the contributions from both sides of the aisle.
To Dr. Alveda King I say, “This issue is by no means a victory for President Trump, it is a glimpse into what politics was before our current era of blind obstructionism and indecent Twitter rants.” For Dr. Alveda King to characterize this as solely a victory for the president clearly reflects a bias which is more focused on partisan scoreboards rather than true reform. President Trump has won no victory so long as his destructive tariffs continue to sow market volatility, President Trump has won no victory so long as he continues to tear our country apart with divisive rhetoric and pure base pleasing politics, and President Trump has won no victory when the very legitimacy of his Presidency is called into question by numerous federal investigations.
Dr. Alveda King is correct, the FIRST STEP Act is vital towards moving our criminal justice system past years of failed war on drug policies, but the president has won no victory. This achievement is the result of government as it should work rather than how the president wishes to see it work: blind, loyal, and ignorant of his crimes.
Professor Tures and his American Experience students conclude that we should all rejoice because people have “taken advantage of educational and resulting economic opportunities” and thus the crime rate has fallen. They thereby challenge the conclusion by Levitt and Dubner that the prevalence of abortion led to a descent in the crime rates in the 1990s. Education, it seems, creates a safer environment for everyone.
They note the decline in the birth rate from the 1940s to the early ‘70s, at which point it flattened out. They then associate this with the rise in college attendance and the fact that college graduates tend to make good choices (seriously?).
This is akin to saying telephone poles cause heart attacks. America has the most telephone poles; America has the most heart attacks. Therefore one causes the other.
Of course, it is a fallacy of logic to extrapolate from a single example. The ‘60s are a bit hazy these days, but I recall that in 1960 Enovid was the first birth control pill approved by the FDA, and in 1965 birth control was made constitutional. Then in 1973 Roe v Wade was decided. And all of a sudden women had a choice — children now, later or never. And contrary to the students’ conclusions, birth control was not only for those in college.
The other missing factor is that in the mid-80s, strict sentencing guidelines were passed. The result was less crime because those who tended to commit crimes were locked up much longer.
Like any complicated physics equation that tries to explain the real world, the same is true with the social sciences. The drop in the crime rate is not the same as e=mc2. And it sure is not as simple as Dick and Jane grew up and went to college.