Twenty-seven years ago this summer, millions of conservative Americans were riveted to their televisions over six days as they watched some of the most compelling Congressional testimony ever given. Because what they saw bothered them immensely. During those July, 1987 U.S. Senate hearings on the Iran-Contra operation, United States Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Oliver North testified on what he knew about the biggest “scandal” to rock the Reagan White House as Democrat after Democrat attacked him mercilessly. The event is so iconic that the now retired Lt. Colonel Oliver North recently served as a story consultant and played a small acting part on the FX television show set in the 1980s called “The Americans.”
Today, depending on your political persuasion or age, the name Oliver North may mean a lot of different things to you. Warrior, patriot, conservative, anti-communist, controversial figure, Reaganite, opportunist, 80’s icon, war monger, gun nut, broadcaster, Christian or some other quick label. For a newer generation under thirty or so, North is mostly an author, TV broadcaster, in demand public speaker, thoughtful veteran and a soft-spoken grandfather.
Popularly, North rightly holds a warrior’s image, sort of like Clint Eastwood’s William Munny character in the Oscar-winning film “Unforgiven.” Now an older man himself, North spends his time hosting “War Stories” on Fox News and raising needed funds for his Freedom Alliance charity and other deserving groups.
What most people probably don’t know is that the same Oliver North who bravely served his country in Vietnam and other bad places we’ll probably never know about is a staunch opponent of the death penalty. For real. As in, he believes we should abolish the death penalty and change our justice system while we are at it. While this may actually be old news to his family, friends and cohorts in the upper echelons of the Conservative movement, his opposition to the death penalty may surprise many people on the Left and the Right. So much so that North’s opposition could provide some muscle to national efforts on the Right to overturn the death penalty in some Red states. Kentucky, South Dakota and Nebraska have bills in their State Legislatures sponsored or backed by… guess who? Conservative Republicans who feel just like Oliver North.
Law and Order versus the scales of justice?