Yesterday, I wrote about Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order removing the disqualification from voting for felons who have completed their time, both in custody and on parole or probation. His order will allow more than 200,000 ex-cons in Virginia to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
In his order, McAuliffe explained the decision in standard liberalese: the ban on felon voting “disproportionately affects racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged;” ex-cons “deserve to re-enter society on fair and just terms;” and so on. I took on this boilerplate in my post.
Now, McAuliffe has defended his decision in psychological terms. He argues that restoring voting rights lets felons feel good about themselves again. Bridgett Johnson has the details at PJ Media.
The felons whom McAuliffe has allowed to vote include murderers, rapists (including those who have committed child rape), armed robbers, and kidnappers. Is it churlish to ask whether people who have committed such heinous crimes ought to feel good about themselves?
An ex-con can and should feel good if he is truly reformed. But allowing criminals to vote does not reform them.
A criminal who has obeyed the law for a sustained period of time after his release has reason to feel good about himself whether or not his voting rights are restored. Such criminals should be able to apply for the right to vote. However, McAuliffe’s willy-nilly restoration as a means of boasting felon self-esteem is preposterous.
Adding more layers of absurdity, and laying it on thick, McAuliffe said that ex-cons are “embarrassed to tell their children” they lost the right to vote because of their crimes. Thanks to McAuliffe, they can avoid embarrassment by telling them they committed rape or murder but are free to vote.
McAuliffe also compared his political maneuver, a crass attempt to enlarge the number of Democratic voters, to the work of Abraham Lincoln. “Ten yards from where I spoke [about allowing criminals to vote] is where Abraham Lincoln addressed the freed slaves 151 years ago this month.” In a society that hadn’t lost its way, the governor’s comparison of slaves to murderers and rapists would offend just about everyone.
McAuliffe’s comparison confirms what I wrote yesterday. He sees (or, in a bow to the left, pretends to see) criminals as victims of society, like slaves were.
The American left has no moral compass. But at least it feels good about itself.