A few months back, he announced a major shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba, ending a half-century of frostiness, and this week the outlines of a deal to avoid a war with Iran were unveiled, thawing a relationship that froze over back in 1979.
I was lucky enough to be granted executive clemency in 1997. Since my release I have continued to advocate for prisoners who are stuck in prison, sentenced to tremendous amounts of time for small amounts of drugs.
I support and applaud President Obama's treatment of turkeys. But I have to ask the president: what about the treatment of the more than 100,000 people who are incarcerated in the federal system because of the war on drugs?
If we are honest, we all have an agenda. My own agenda is shaped by a passage my mom taught me, Micah 6:8. It teaches that what God requires is that we seek justice, love mercy, and "walk humbly with our God."
A year ago, The Washington Post and ProPublica reported that the Obama administration was set to reverse its poor record on clemency. It didn't happen. Since winning reelection, President Obama has not commuted a single sentence.
We repeatedly express surprise when this unilateral power is used and are quick to decry the lack of principle behind some uses of the pardon power. Yet we never ask how a candidate would use the pardon power during the election cycle?
When Haley Barbour gave out 215 pardons a few weeks back, the relatives of victims immediately contacted the media to share their outrage. The media seem to have completely ignored the reality that the real problem is systematic.
The last 30 years of sentencing policy may provide an answer. Getting "tough on crime" became popular among the public and politicians alike. We rejected the notion that a criminal could be rehabilitated.