The social justice team of Jealous & Norquist?


(Above: NAACP Pres. Ben Jealous on MSNBC’s Morning Joe)

I definitely support NAACP Ben Jealous’ effort to focus the organizations strengths on the racist outcomes of the criminal justice system in the United States. TAP’s Adam Serwer also praises Jealous’s conservative co-signers of the new NAACP report on prison spending Misplace Priorities.

The hook to the NAACP’s new report on criminal justice reform is the fact that it’s being introduced alongside arch-conservative Grover Norquist, and endorsed by the increasingly silly but still arch-conservative Newt Gingrich. But the real story here is that the NAACP is growing more comfortable with the role of a civil rights organization in an era where racial discrimination is fueled more by the inertia of entrenched institutional inequities than the political power of segregationists.

via A New NAACP?.

I think teaming up with Republicans who can understand the municipal and state burden of the criminal justice system can be easier on public coffers is a great idea. I don’t like allegiance with these conservatives.

Why? Because Norquist and Gingrich want to simply starve the government and abolish and/or privatize public programs. Grover Norquist is currently advocating de-funding social programs (like publicly funded rehabs and treatment facilities for non-violent drug offenders) that the NAACP is advocating replace the US’s current criminal justice policies. Norquist is also on the board of the NRA an organization which actively opposes standard gun control legislation (like closing Gun Show loopholes or background checks for gun purchases) and he proposes elimination of the Department of Education. Gingrich wants to use local law enforcement as a proxy for INS. All of this would create holes in the structure needed to deal with the NAACP’s desired sea change in our criminal justice system and imprisonment first culture. To the punditry, Norquist is now very serious thinker about social issues as opposed to what he is: a guy who wants to cut every tax and end every government program.

The good thing about this team up for Jealous is that he has specific close ended paper that Norquist and Gingrich have signed on to support. It’s much better than the disastrously stupid “We Can Solve It” campaigns for action on behalf of the environment. Gingrich was in those too, saying we needed to do something about climate Change. This was a signal to those in media that he was serious about climate change. Gingrich’s current solution? Abolish the EPA as well as “frack” and “drill” to energy independence.

Overall, the fact that Jealous has further repositioned the NAACP in this manner is good news. The next step, is how does this manifest into legal action to make these policies reality.