Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

18 February 2008

How macho should a State's Attorney be?

My antennae are standing up.

I had read a piece somewhere and heard it on NPR that there are rumblings to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois. For those not familiar, Illinois has had a moratorium on the death penalty since 2000. It was one of the last things and the best thing former Governor Ryan did before he left office. He's since been convicted of corruption and is serving time in a Wisconsin prison.

While this new piece on how state's attorney candidates feel about lifting the moratorium doesn't quite hit the whole "you need to be for it to be tough on crime" I'm sure that it will end up like that by the time we hit November:

Democratic Cook County state's attorney nominee Anita Alvarez said Friday that Illinois must enact more reforms and allow the public a say before lifting its death-penalty moratorium.

"I believe there were a lot of reforms, and there were a lot of recommendations that I don't believe have been put into effect," said prosecutor Alvarez during a taping of the "At Issue" program, set to air at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WBBM-AM 780.

In contrast, Republican state's attorney nominee Tony Peraica said he favors lifting the 8-year-old moratorium on executions, a view Republican DuPage County State's Atty. Joe Birkett advocated this week .

Alvarez is up against Peraica, someone not known to play nice and is eager to hold a larger office than he does now. That said, I do admire how spunky the guy is. But I won't be surprised when ads come out trying to paint Alvarez as soft on crime. She'll be battling someone who is a veteran at campaigning. I'm sure she'll have a good team on hand since she is the party candidate now. At least I hope so!

She's got to fight the image that women are soft on crime. She'll have to fight the idea that she's working against her people (aka us Latina/os) by fighting crime. She's a mom and that never seems to project bad ass law enforcement officer.

What I do think she needs to do is play up all those so-called negatives. If you've ever known a Latina Mother, you know they are NOT to be messed with. You would rather spend the night in jail with mass murderers than to call your Latina mother for bail money. Oh, yes. While I did many a thing to test my mother's will (Goddess rest her soul), I never tempted her by getting a tattoo. She swore she'd cut it out with a butter knife and I didn't put it past her. I got an in-school detention in the 5th grade and she warned me that she never wanted to get a call from school again about me. I wasn't a saint from then on, but I made damn sure that she never got a call...instead I pleaded with the Dean of my high school that *I* tell her the bad news and yes, she'll call you the times I really messed up.

So Anita, I think you need to shoot an ad that plays up the mom factor. Aren't we all afraid of our moms in some way? And while I oppose the death penalty outright, I hope you will stay strong and keep the moratorium in place for a long time.

Technorati tags: Anita Alvarez, latina, death penalty, illinois


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