Friday, August 28, 2009

From What I'm Told, God Forgives... Why Not You?

How long does one have to move beyond an incident before forgiveness is granted? Obviously the circumstances surrounding the rest of your existence will at least in part answer that. But assuming one lives decently and doesn’t do further harm when do you pass that threshold of forgiveness? How do those of you who hold a grudge reconcile holding that grudge for the rest of your life? Doesn’t that consume energy that might be better spent elsewhere?

When Ted Kennedy passed away this week, I posted on my Facebook page that I was mourning the loss of the last great Kennedy. I received a response that I had to be kidding. He should have been sharing a cell with OJ. OK, let’s think about this. When Teddy was a young man, he screwed up royally. He drove his car into a pond and someone wound up dead. A tragedy by any standard. He should have been held accountable. But there was money and political power behind him and he wound up with a slap on the wrist. That was 40 years ago. What has he done since? He dedicated his life to serving his country. He spoke out for the little guy. He was well respected on the Senate floor. I think he did his penance. How can you compare him to OJ? OJ murdered someone (OK, wink-wink…. allegedly….). What has OJ done since his wife and her companion were cut to pieces … wink-wink…. by some as yet undetermined scum sucking shit hole dweller? Why, he’s wound up committing another (oops… his first?) felony. How can you in any way compare him to Ted Kennedy?

Jane Fonda fucked up in her youth. She was against the Viet Nam war. She went to North Vietnam and palled around with the soldiers that were killing our young men. Wasn’t too bright a thing to do. But the Viet Nam war was even less popular than Iraq. There were protests (HUGE protests) occurring regularly all over the country. I’m guessing Jane was a probably looking for a little publicity. Well, she got it. She was, and remains, an activist. Sometimes activists get a little extreme. But it’s activists who helped get us out of Viet Nam, and pushed forward the civil rights movement, and campaigned for women’s rights, and made it hard to ignore countless other inequities in our system of governance and societal structure. And she has since apologized for what she did. And that too was 40 years ago. The woman is in her 70’s for crying out loud. When do we forgive her?

I think as individuals we need to look at some of our collective conscience and ask ourselves, as a nation, what the fuck are we thinking? You take a guy like Charles Manson. Now there’s a guy we don’t want to forgive. He’s as nuts today as he was when arrested. But Jane Fonda? Ted Kennedy? I ask you, if you were 20 something years old and screwed up like Teddy did, and your daddy had the money and the connections to keep you out of jail, what would you do? You bet your ass. You’d do anything it took to stay the hell out of jail. Was what he did right? Of course not. I would think a mistake of that magnitude would haunt you until the day you died (which is punishment in and of its self). Did he make up for it by putting in 40 some odd years of public service? At the very least, it’s a pretty damn good start.

So, I reiterate. I am mourning the loss of the last great Kennedy. I for one will miss, not only him, but what he represented to many of us. He was a man of great wealth who could have pretty much done whatever the hell he wanted, but chose to devote his life to public service. I salute you Teddy. And I forgive you.

Common Sense

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