THE BLOG
07/03/2007 05:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

What it Means to be George Bush's Friend

All right, all right settle down. It's not Armageddon. The president was well within his constitutional rights to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby who was convicted of perjury by a jury of his peers.

Did I say peers? In the end, only one peer mattered: George W. Bush. If you must blame someone -- take it out on the framers of the Constitution who gave this compassionate conservative the authority to insure that his friend never spends an incarcerated night away from his family.

Frankly, everyone needs a friend like George Bush. Just imagine having your own life size Monopoly "get out of jail free" card whenever you did something wrong. If you are his friend you need only for him to conclude, without the aid of the Justice Department, that your sentence is excessive and voila, you're free!

Too bad Genarlow Wilson doesn't have George Bush as a friend. Wilson, an honor student and star athlete at his Georgia high school, has already served 27 months of a 10-year mandatory felony sentence for a voluntary act of oral sex with another teenager. He was 17, she was 15.

A judge recently ordered Wilson to be released immediately. But shortly after the ruling Georgia's attorney general, Thurbert Baker announced that he was appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court resulting in Wilson remaining behind bars. Now if George Bush were his friend, Wilson would be at home sipping lemonade instead of confined to a cell.

Flozelle Woodmore, who I wrote about last week, could really benefit from having George Bush as a friend.

In 1986, Woodmore, then 18 years old, killed her longtime boyfriend, Clifton Morrow, after years of well-documented abuse. At the time of her trial, abuse was not allowed in court as a mitigating circumstance. Woodmore pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life. She remains incarcerated in Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.

For 18 years she has been a model inmate. For the past six years, Woodmore has appeared before the state's parole board; and each time the board members found her fit for release. In addition, Woodmore's sentencing judge, the district attorney, as well as the victim's family support her release, but Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger have overruled the board's judgment the previous five years.

Ah, but if George Bush were her friend -- need I say more?

There are also innocent people sitting on death row who desperately need George Bush as a friend. But George Bush cannot be their friend because he is Scooter Libby's friend; and such friendship is rare indeed.

For it is the type of friendship that ignores the rule of law, and is simply not available to those on society's margin. This is a friendship whose foundation is carved out of the granite of access and privilege.

As the most neo-conservative shills cackled away as to the miscarriage of justice that convicted Libby, one would have thought he morphed into Nelson Mandela instead of a Bush/Cheney loyalist who perjured himself. But with a friend like George Bush, one can commit perjury and come out looking like a freedom fighter.

Under the Bush monarchy, there is nuance when it comes to habeas corpus, the Geneva Conventions, the use of torture, and preemptive war, but when someone who is on the team commits perjury one must err on the side of the guilty.

If you are George Bush's friend you can lie, stonewall, omit facts, or add new unsubstantiated ones assuming the cause is to lead this country into the most unnecessary and tragic foreign policy decision since the Constitution was ratified.

But if your are not his friend then you must live with the inconveniences of the rule of law. No matter how just your cause, his hands are tied.

Ironically, when opining about the 152 death warrants for inmates he signed as governor of Texas, then candidate George Bush wrote: "I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own" -- unless of course, you are his friend.

Byron Williams is an Oakland pastor and syndicated columnist. E-mail him at byron@byronspeaks.com or leave a message at (510) 208-6417.