Here I was, ready to support Obama for once. Thank goodness Morris W. O’Kelly stopped me in my tracks.
I appreciated Obama’s spin on the Michael Vick success story: apparently the President ventured that the QB’s return to glory might, in some small way, delegitimize the culture of discrimination against ex-offenders. Granted, the Vick signing is probably more of an outlier than a bellweather for changing social mores. (I’m guessing Vick has more marketable skills than most violent felons.) But I admire (a) a public figure who will stretch a story to fit his agenda; and (b) a politician who stands up for a population that’s largely disenfranchised. This little news item pleasantly gave us both.
Then Morris W. O’Kelly put me in my place. According to O’Kelly, businesses shouldn’t hire offenders if it’s profitable. No, criminals only deserve employment out of pure charity. Watch out: any organization with the temerity to weigh an ex-offender’s qualifications in evaluating their candidacy for a job will suffer O’Kelly’s wrath!
Chill, Morris. Obama wasn’t exhalting the Eagles as the NFL’s version of Homeboy Industries, as far as I can tell. He said the story might have a positive impact. More to the point, offender re-entry advocates would probably agree that for-profit entities hiring ex-offenders is a good thing, even if it serves their bottom line.
So let’s take a deep breath, eat some vegetarian buffalo wings, and watch Aaron Rodgers pick apart the Eagles secondary next weekend.