While watching Hardball on Friday, my ears perked up a little as I listened to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay discuss his recent conviction and three year sentence for money laundering (below is the entire interview with Chris Matthews). DeLay, earlier in the day in an interview on the Today Show, argued that his conviction was essentially a liberal political plot against him. But in the interview with Matthews, Delay said the following: "Imagine being caught up in a justice system, and you have no chance to win. When decisions are made before you even get to present your case." Now if that doesn't sound like something Blacks, Latinos and/or poor men (of any race) have been saying for years, I don't know what does.
I have no idea if there is a liberal conspiracy against Tom DeLay, but I wonder if his feeling that he is being punished for reasons other than for actually committing the crime in question would extend to the aforementioned groups who have made that very complaint (and many legitimately) for ages. My gut suggests that it hasn't, and it won't, but then my gut has been wrong in the past.
I still have vivid memories of being prejudged as dangerous by people who likely would not have felt that way, if I were a white guy in the exact same sets of clothes (and I've never been involved in the criminal justice system). It is a painful experience, and one that I wouldn't wish on my worst friend. I hope that DeLay, whatever the outcome of his case, will learn from this experience and gain some empathy that I am not sure was always there for others caught up in the criminal justice system.