Can you hear that giant sucking sound? It’s the sound of “Compassionate conservative” Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential aspirations flushing down the toilet. With the Maurice Clemmons murders–execution style–of four Washington state police officers, Huckabee’s chances in the Republican primaries have become nil. Gov. Huckabee, obstensibly in an act of compassion, pardoned this guy to roam the streets and blaze a trail of mayhem culminating in that massacre at Tacoma, WA.
In the majority of cases, he [Gov. Huckabee] followed the recommendation of the state parole board, but in several cases he overrode the objections of prosecutors, judges, and victims’ families. And in several, he followed recommendations for clemency from Baptist preachers who had been his longtime supporters.
Prosecutors told him he was ignoring his responsibility to explain to citizens why he was setting free convicted murderers and rapists. His response, some of them say, was to blame others and strike out against his critics – an off-note from a man they consider a gifted politician.
Here, Huckabee cited Clemmon’s age, who was 16 when he was arrested for his crimes. As a christian, I don’t blame the man, and I don’t judge the man. Everybody’s a genius with the benefit of hindsight. And compassion is a fundamental tenet of the christian faith. So what went wrong? I think his pardon falls into what some call “false compassion.”
The examples of what constitutes false compassion are myriad and varied, but it’s basically when someone is “compassionate” on behalf of someone else. I don’t mean compassionate toward someone else, I mean on behalf of someone else. It’s “compassion” where he/she has no right to be compassionate. Do you have a right to forgive someone who slighted someone else? Or does that right belong to the person actually slighted? Do you have a right to give away someone else’s money in the name of compassion–especially when the one actually benefitting isn’t a third party, it’s YOU? Or should the money you’re giving away in the name of “compassion” be YOURS? When you wrongfully assume the right to show “compassion”, that is false compassion.
And this is what’s so dangerous (and cheap) about false compassion– it’s easy, often thoughtless, it’s no skin off your back. Gov. Huckabee, in an act of false compassion, and against the wishes of Clemmon’s actual victims–people living with real fear of this monster–released him to the streets. And because it’s easy, and often thoughtless, this brand of compassion can sometimes lead to unintended consequences such as in Tacoma, WA.