In today's New York Times, Nicholas Kristof tells the story of the upcoming execution of Kevin Cooper. Despite the fact that a number of federal judges have declared that Cooper was framed by police in California, and despite the evidence that someone else committed the murders for which Cooper is supposed to die, the state-run machinery of death plows on.
This is a compelling story that I am sure some readers will dismiss as "liberal" nonsense. (No doubt, Ann Coulter believes Cooper is guilty because, well, a jury convicted him, and everyone knows that prosecutors always tell the truth.)
In my view, however, this goes well beyond the guilt or innocence of one man, or even the merits or demerits of state-sponsored executions. It goes beyond the race of the victims and Cooper's race. (The victims were white and Cooper is black.)
All of these are the platforms from which political groups operate, but there is something much more important than political victories and losses, and that is Truth itself. We finally have reached the era in the United States in which truth is irrelevant.
When Duke University fired lacrosse coach Mike Pressler in 2006 after three of his players were falsely accused of raping an African-American prostitute, the then-AD of Duke, Joe Alleva (who now is at LSU), declared emphatically, "It's not about the truth." Instead, it was about the political situation, and he decided that politics trumps truth, and the president of Duke, Richard Brodhead, supported Alleva's decision.
Duke University has the motto "Eruditio et Religio," which means "sanctified knowledge." In the lacrosse case, Duke mirrored the rest of American society when its leadership sought out a lie in place of the truth, all the while claiming that the lies they were telling were sanctified.
So, if Cooper is put to death, then we can say once again that political victories mean more to Americans than does the truth. No civilization can stand upon the sandy foundations of lies, and we are going to find out the hard way that "American Exceptionalism" does not mean that Americans are excused from the consequences of the lie.