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A Generational Divide?

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I asked here why a number of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of what is (I assume facetiously) called the Smarter Sentencing Act.  I offered six reasons.  Now a Slate article offers a seventh:  A generational divide. The article, tellingly titled "Forgive and Forget," notes:

[T]he average age of the Republicans who voted for [the SSA] --Sens. Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Mike Lee -- was 45.  The average age of the Republicans who voted no -- Sens. John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Sessions -- was 69.  The elder Republicans didn't want to patronize the new class and didn't doubt that, in Sessions's words, "there are some areas where we could reduce the length of incarceration without adversely impacting crime rates." But they remembered the bad old days, and the young guys didn't....

This brought to mind a story we would do well to recall as the Dumber Sentencing Act get further consideration in Congress (if it does).
There was a village getting constantly overrun by elephants. After a while, the villagers had enough of this, and decided to build a high stone wall around the village. The stones were heavy, ugly, cost a lot, and it took a long time and a lot of labor to build them into a wall. But when the wall was built, lo and behold, it worked. There were no more elephant rampages through the village.

A generation later, the new chief, a younger fellow, called a meeting of village residents. He eagerly proposed to take down the wall, and use the stones for compassionate purposes like schools and playgrounds.

One of the elders, a fellow who had helped build the wall, got up and said, "But what about the elephants?" Whereupon the young chief smilingly replied, "I don't know what you're talking about. We haven't had an elephant problem for years." 

1 Comment

Well put, Bill. I'm in my early 40s, which is still old enough to vividly member the bad old days in New York City. I fear that much of America is on its way back to the bad old days because our historical memories are so short.

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