Donald Trump and his administration are on an execution spree, rushing to expedite as many state-sponsored murders of federal prisoners as they can before his term ends on January 20. Between last December 10 and the end of his term, Trump has scheduled five executions, bringing his total since last July to 13. Since Trump and Attorney General William Barr effectively re-instituted federal executions, which had basically been suspended for the past 17 years, Trump has acted fast and furiously with this license to kill. In the words of Joanna Walters, writing in The Guardian, he has solidified his legacy as “as the most prolific execution president in over 130 years.”
We often define culture as a “way of life.” Implicit in this definition is the notion that culture should support and value human life.
It makes sense, right? A “way of life” promises, in its very language, to support living, not promote dying.
As many have pointed out, making Black lives matter is a precursor to making all lives matter. To make all lives matter, we have to address the ways certain lives, particularly those of people of color in the United States, have been devalued. Put another way, we can’t create a culture and society that values all lives unless we identify and root out the mechanisms and value systems that have been enabling the devaluation, the differential valuing, of particular groups’ lives.