I’m quite fond of actress and activist Alyssa Milano, who is generally on the right side of things when it comes to politics. She walks her talk, and doesn’t strike me as a Susan Sarandon wack-a-doo. I follow her on Twitter, and 99% of the time I’m like “right on!”
But that said, Milano sure dropped a steaming pile of hot take on Twitter this weekend, and got the ratio she deserved.
Celebrating a man’s death while fighting to abolish the death penalty is a bad look for democrats/humans.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 23, 2019
This is so head-smackingly awful, I’m not sure where to begin. Perhaps the Times can help elucidate.
David H. Koch, an industrialist who amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune with his brother Charles and then joined him in pouring their riches into a powerful right-wing libertarian movement that helped reshape American politics, died on Friday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 79.
Whatever one might think of Mr. Koch—and I reserve the right to use a few choice words like “piece of shit who did more to ruin the world I’m leaving for my child than just about anyone else on the fucking planet’—it is ludicrous to compare dying in comfort at one’s palatial estate in the Hamptons to being strapped in a gurney and injected with poison, or being cuffed into an electric chair and having your brain fried with 2,000 volts of electricity. The only entity that decided Koch’s date and time of departure was Death itself. It was not a judge in a courtroom.
Another difference Milano neglects is that—in theory at least, and certainly from the state’s point of view—the person strapped to the gurney or chair is getting what they deserve. Has David Koch ever paid any kind of price, other than angry missives on social media and in the papers, for using his billions to support climate change denial? For despoiling the environment? For helping to rip apart our national political discourse, such as it is? No, he has not.
In fact, the harm Koch did will far outlast his memory, and will far outlast the impact of even the worst individual crime a death row inmate could have done.
David Koch worked tirelessly, over decades, to jettison from office any moderate Republicans who proposed to regulate greenhouse gases…
Mike Pence, who was then a congressman in Indiana, and others soon signed a “carbon pledge” circulated by Americans for Prosperity, which effectively prohibited the government from putting a price on carbon emissions. Those efforts and others effectively derailed the effort to pass a cap and trade plan for greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, the level of atmospheric carbon concentration hovered around 387 parts per million. In the decade since, levels have surpassed 400 parts per million, the highest level recorded in human existence.
Since the 2016 election, and in the face of more urgent scientific warnings about climate change and a growing popular movement for action, the Koch network has tried to build a Republican Party in its image: one that not only refuses to consider action on climate change but continues to deny that the problem is real.
A mass murder may kill dozens of people. Thanks to Koch, the world—literally billions of people—will be coping with the effects of climate change that he not only helped unleash, but made sure would get worse. It is not going to far to say that David Koch has made my child’s future well-being less sure.
It does not take a lot of cognitive dissonance—none, actually—to be glad that a bad person is dead (of natural causes, no less) while at the same time believing the state shouldn’t be in the business of killing convicted criminals. In fact, I can make a whole list of such people. It’s a long list.
Is it in bad taste to disco dance on the grave of people we don’t like? No doubt. But it is not antithetical to supporting an end to the death penalty.