Heavy lies the head that wears the turkey.
Pres. Donald Trump pardoned two turkeys just before Thanksgiving Day. It's a holiday tradition. Ever year, in a display of commercialized might, the president pardons two turkeys and a war criminal. The two turkeys go to some kind of turkey rescue facility. The war criminal gets a promotion, may someday write a book called "Screw 'Em. They Ain't Really Human" and could eventually marry a Kardashian, if one is available.
At nearly the same moment, three guys from Baltimore get out of prison. They're all in their 50s, they all did more than 30 years in the can, and all three of them were all released because, whoopsie, somebody else did the killing of which they were accused.
This is why I don't agree with the death penalty. If you kill someone for committing a crime, and you kill the wrong person, you can't take it back. Not ever.
The three guys who did the time after not doing the crime are all African Americans, which should come as no surprise. They didn't have a turkey's chance.
There is no wrongfully convicted rescue facility where these men can go, no place where men whose lives were stolen can frolic in a sunlit meadow and eat their fill of cracked corn. The turkeys get all the breaks.
We'll probably stuff the men with money, maybe millions of dollars, every dollar intended to pay for a minute or a second of the time they spent being wrongfully convicted. They went in young, and there's a good chance they've been anally raped, beaten and terrorized.
You wouldn't do that to a turkey.
Try that next year. Tell your family you're going to buy a live turkey for Thanksgiving. Tell them you're going to lock the turkey in your basement for a couple of weeks, beat it, rape it and then cut it's throat and pop it in the oven for a few hours.
You tell your family that, and there won't be too many folks around your table that year. In fact, one of your relatives, maybe your weak vegan cousin, Oliver, will probably rat you out to the cops and the animal protection people. You could end up in jail, or at least in an institution where the medical staff has a serious interest in your dreams and your relationship with your mother. Don't worry, though. You won't do 36 years, like the guys from Baltimore. It's just a turkey. They ain't really human.
Thirty-six years is a lot of Thanksgivings. It's a lot of Christmases.
The thing about being a turkey is that while you do get profiled and targeted just for being a turkey, it ends pretty quickly for you, and there is always the chance that you'll get that presidential pardon and waddle off to the rescue farm. It's nearly the same for the war criminal, except he has less chance of being killed than does the turkey, and he is much more likely to get pardoned. To be fair, the three released wrongly convicted could also write books, and there is some chance one of them could marry a Kardashian. Perhaps one will become available after she divorces the war criminal.
Turkeys write no books. They tell no tales. A Kardashian would have to be pretty damn desperate to so much as adopt a turkey.
So who gets the best deal? Is it war criminals, turkeys or wrongfully convicted African American men?
I don't want to answer that question, not in America, where I was born, but I will probably answer it tonight in my dreams.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a gravy-drenched collection of his best columns, is titled "The Land of Trumpin'," and is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.
Photo credit: skeeze at Pixabay