July 11, 2017

Oops They Did it Again

As Ronald Reagan, the all-time most favoritest Republican ever in the world of Republicans was known to say a time or to, "there you go again."  And there they go again, those pesky Republicans.

One would be forgiven for having thought that the Rs would have learned something when the mother of Ambassador Chris Stevens hammered them for using the name of her son for their own purposes. Here's an excerpt from my post last year after the conventions.

"My feelings on this were to some degree validated, if that's the right word, when I saw that Ambassador Chris Stevens' mother had some advice for the Republicans, published in the NY Times. 
As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens's mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican Party.  I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be a permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign. "
And yet we find ourselves not even a full year later, and the Republicans are again exploiting the death of someone's child for their own purposes.
I don't know who coined 'Kate's Law.' It certainly wasn't us.
Those words, we're told, come from Jim Steinle, whose daughter Kate was killed by a felon-seven-times-over, five-time-deportee while Kate and her father were out walking on the San Francisco waterfront back in July 2015. The man accused of her killing had been released from jail, without notification to federal authorities, by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who had an 'absolutist' interpretation of San Francisco's sanctuary city law.

Then-candidate Donald Trump frequently mentioned Kate on the campaign trail, as part of his harsh stance on sanctuary cities, and in support of his 'they're sending us criminals' rhetoric leading up to the plan to build a wall on our southern border.

The Steinles have every right to be angry, or bitter, or determined, or anything else they want to be, as they pursue whatever recourse is available to them.  Similarly, politicians have every right to try and come up with legislation that helps advance a cause - their own, or one that has the support of the family that suffered the loss.

That last part is critical - pushing an agenda by attaching a name to it, or enacting legislation with a name attached to it, is sensitive under the best of circumstances - but in both of these situations, the 'naming' should only be done with the support of the victim's family.  The Brady Bill comes to mind as an example of where family support and political agenda came together well.

In the case of Chris Stevens, clearly his family does not support the blatant politicization of his name and the exploitation of his death, to advance an agenda that he would not have wanted.

Related legislation passed by the House at the same time as Kate's law was passed included Grant's law, named in honor of Grant Ronnebeck, a store clerk killed by a person released by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) even though he had previously been charged with a felony. His family supports the legislation and it being named to honor their son. Sarah's Law was named for Sarah Root, an Iowa woman, just graduated from college, who was killed by an illegal immigrant drunk driver who was subsequently released on bond and who is now on the ICE ten most wanted list. The Root family actively lobbied for legislation named for their daughter.

In the Steinle's case though, while they support the law Republicans have named after their daughter, they don't support her name being attached to the legislation.
Her family members do not want her name to be in the center of a political controversy. They want room to grieve, and to reflect on and honor her life in their own ways. 
Not only that, but they don't hold the same view of sanctuary cities that Trump and other Republicans hold.
They recognize the value of allowing otherwise law-abiding immigrants to report crimes or go to a hospital without fear of deportation.
It would seem the Republicans learned nothing from Chris Stevens' mother. Perhaps they will now learn something from the Steinles - especially since they got the legislation they wanted.
Jim Steinle made plain that he has no interest in doing further interviews, or otherwise seeing his daughter's name raised by either side in such a charged and often vitriolic debate.
"You just hope it ends someday. I don't know when."
Perhaps now would be a good time?