If you look on social media and some of the blogs today, many Delawareans are talking about the vote in the House yesterday on the Death Penalty Repeal bill. Senate Bill 40 passed in the Senate but the House shot it down with a 17-22 vote. On the record, it was a 16-23 vote, but State Rep. Kim Williams voted no so the bill could have a potential shot at being reconsidered.
I will firmly state I am against the death penalty. Like State Rep. Sean Lynn said yesterday, if there is even a chance of an error, than we cannot and should not put a person’s life on the line like that. With that being said, I also oppose abortion. To me, life is life. Yes, the death penalty was put in place to execute the most egregious of criminals out there, but the Bible firmly states “Thou shalt not kill.” Under that line of thought, a fetus is a life just as much as a murderer on death row.
For abortion, I believe that all life has an unfulfilled purpose. I saw a post on Facebook this morning where a woman talked about being raped. She had a child and gave it up for adoption. Many years later, that very same child saved a woman from being raped at a party. I often think about what could happen with children who are not able to reach their full potential. Some don’t have a chance at all. I used to be against all abortion with the exception of a woman who is a victim of rape. I have changed that view in recent years because there are other options. I understand women in those situations are given no choice. But I have no doubt, if even 1% of our most famous inventors, writers, musicians, or leaders were born out of that environment, our world would be a lesser place had they not been born.
For families who have lost a loved one to a murderer, I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. I have never gone through that, and I pray I never will. I think every human being on this planet has thought about revenge at one point or another. In my view, it doesn’t take away the event that precipitated the feeling of pain. It simply masks it and any feeling from it tends to be short-term and can cause more psychological scars down the road. And what if the guilty are not guilty? I would find it very difficult to deal with if I found out I wanted death for someone who turned out to be innocent.
These aren’t easy issues, and based on some of the votes yesterday in the House, this can’t be seen as a simple Democrat or Republican issue. Sure, many Democrats support death penalty repeal but favor a woman’s choice for abortion. On the Republican side, it tends to be the opposite. How many are out there that support both or are against both? Please take the poll below. I am very curious how people stand on these very controversial issues.
Both of the Seans in the Delaware House of Representatives have a lot in common. They are both Democrat, they are both named Sean, they both voted against the budget last June, and they both began their first terms as State Representatives this year. They both supported House Bill 50 in a big way. They brought in a much-needed amount of fresh young blood to the General Assembly. They are both up for re-election this year. Both of them dealt with some controversial issues in 2015.
Sean Lynn’s biggest moment came during the debate of Senate Bill 40, the legislation designed to repeal the death penalty in Delaware. According to Delaware Liberal, Lynn plans to attempt a suspension of House rules to bring the bill back from its own form of death: not coming out of the Judiciary Committee. This could happen as early as January according to the article. The death penalty is one of those issues in Delaware that keeps coming back, draws the ire of both sides, and doesn’t move forward. Will Lynn’s attempt to reanimate the bill be the difference? Time will tell.
Sean Matthews sponsored or co-sponsored many education bills in the General Assembly. He enjoyed moderate success with these bills, which helped to land him a slot on the assessment inventory task force stemming from Senate Joint Resolution #2. As one of the key players in this group, Matthews will be the voice of reason in a group filled with many who lean toward Governor Markell’s way of thinking with state assessments. Time will tell if this group can get rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, but I doubt it.
Both of the Seans will have their hands full with the rest of their own party. As part of the “Six” who voted against the budget last year, along with State Reps. Baumbach, Bennett, Kowalko and Williams, many in their party felt it was a mighty bold move for two legislative rookies. It was. I would rather see legislators vote with conviction and belief than going along to get along. I fear there could be retribution of a political sort this year by the House leadership. The easiest targets are the new guys. But both Seans are a mighty stock and I have faith they will deal with any fallout from their decision last year with grace.
With an election year looming, many are assuming no matter what the Democrats will keep their power in Legislative Hall. But there is a growing feeling of discontent in Delaware. After years of questioned policies and agendas coming from Governor Markell and the leadership in Legislative Hall, many Delawareans are willing to vote out of party this year. I predict both of the Seans will be safe because they are among those questioning what is really going on in Delaware. The key to all of this will come in January when Governor Markell releases his budget proposal for Delaware. We will get a very firm idea on where Delaware stands in terms of a budget deficit.