By Harvey Tobkes

Most Americans have a very punitive mind-set…they don’t seem to care that we lock up far too many people, for far too long, for relatively minor crimes; especially when the others are different than us.

President Barack Obama is causing quite a stir in the national prisoner reentry movement with his comments on Michael Vick. “Too many people who serve time never get a fair second chance,” Obama reportedly told the owner of Vick’s football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. “It’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out.”

That’s all well and good and noble, but some people may ask if Obama would have gotten involved in an issue relating to our culture, if Vick was a white football player. It’s true Vick is very talented and a force at his game, but is that a reason for our president to take a detour from running the affairs of the country? Maybe! Some may even call it racist, but not me!

From my observation, like goes with like; color goes with color. We are slow to condemn anyone with whom we share a common bond; we tend to defend those castigated by others if we have a link to them. One of the best examples was public reaction to the trial and acquittal of O.J. Simpson. Some other examples are:

If they are people of our faith or nationality; Capone was a hero to some Italians, Madoff was a financial genius to some Jews, etc, etc. We tend to pity and sympathize with people like ourselves when tragedy strikes them. Others peas in the same pod are possibly our club members e.g. Masonic Bothers; and also our fellow Americans when threatened by foreigners. I am sure by now you get my drift because there is no end to this.

So was Obama so wrong in standing up for Michael Vick? I think the truth is…he was not!

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