Press "Enter" to skip to content

TWMP Column: Blessed are the merciful

Matthew chapter 5 tells us blessed are the merciful.

Which is why despite all the anger and rhetoric surrounding Governor Parson’s commutation of Britt Reid, better known as the son of Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, I think it’s far to early to condemn this act of mercy as a mistake.

Now I think it’s obvious that a reasonable person could disagree with the Governor’s decision here.

However, the rhetoric of the urban liberals, urban liberals of both Republican and Democrat stripes has been over the top.

Take a moment and consider what if Britt Reid had some hyphens in his pronouns, or was in some way someone the liberals call disadvantaged?

All those folks would be falling over themselves to praise the Governor, the circumstances be damned.

Yes it’s true that Britt Reid is a white male and yes it’s simply true that African-American men have been discriminated against in our state with inadequate legal counsel, racist juries, and completely irrationally harsh sentences.

However, those facts should not disqualify Britt Reid from petitioning the state for mercy, or from the Governor from considering and ultimately granting him that mercy.

While he may be a jackass Donald Trump’s record as president was pretty strong, and one of the bright spots was his record of pardoning those with far too harsh sentences handed down to them.

For decades republicans at the Presidential and Gubernatorial level were hesitant to pardon anyone, even those clearly worthy of mercy for political concerns.

Governor Parson has followed the lead of President Trump has issued 746 pardons, approved 24 commutations, which is a huge jump from the past governors of either party.

This is not the first time these types of issues have had controversy. In 1999 Governor Mel Carnahan commuted a death sentence at the request of the Pope.

He was harshly criticized, but in the end did his show of mercy truly hurt anyone?

Further, did it really matter who asked him for it?

Look, what Britt Reid did was awful. It was completely unjustifiable, but mercy isn’t about justifying an action. Mercy is about accpeting what happened and being merciful in spite of that.

As is the case with every pardon, every grant of clemency, every commutation of a sentence there are victims, and there are typically plenty of reasons to deny a man mercy.

After all, you have to do something wrong to be in need of mercy in the first place. Britt Reid’s case is no different.

Governor is a big job with very difficult decisions like this one every day. The buck truly stops on that second floor.

In the very recent past it was filled by a man not big enough to shoulder its burdens. However, Governor Parson is a man plenty big enough to do the job he has been entrusted with.

The truth is that in the end, Britt Reid’s life will no longer be defined by who his father is.

Britt Reid’s life will be defined by what he does with the mercy extended to him by Governor Parson.

All of those so anxious to attack the Governor today will have a microscope on him eagerly anticipating any stumble they can blissfully trumpet to attack Governor Parson with for their likes and retweets.

He will have to live above reproach, or this will become a true embarrassment for the Governor, and actul blemish on his record.

I am a man who knows what it’s like to be extended mercy, I hope for Mr. Reid’s sake he doesn’t take this mercy he has been extended for granted.

The controversy surrounding this commutation could also be a very good catalyst for Governor Parson as well.

There may be more people who are worthy of similar forms of mercy that might have never thought to have ask the Governor before, or even knew that they could, that hopefully will now ask for mercy from the Governor.

This could also be a very good motivator for the Governor and his staff to be more merciful with others seeking mercy with restarting their lives.

I would be disappointed in the Governor if Britt Reid was his last commutation.

I’m confident that it won’t be.

On my best days I’m a lot more Jean Valjean than Javert.

Maybe those who were so harsh to the Governor’s extension of mercy here could reread their tweets in a week or so with a little more Valjean and a little less Javert themselves.

Thanks to everyone who joined us last night at our Stateswoman of the Year Event. It was truly a privilege to honor Senator O’Laughlin.

See you Sunday morning for This Week in Missouri Politics