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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kapact's Rant: Haiti, "Kennedy's Seat", and Forgiveness

I'd like to start off by mentioning the terrible, terrible tragedy in Haiti. I can offer no words as eloquent as those that have already been spoken. So many countries and organizations have contributed through money, goods, and services, and it is truly a testament to the goodness of the world's citizens that during these times of a world-wide recession, people and governments still find a way to give. Crises seem to be almost a dime a dozen these days, and that is a shame. But this is a big one. Too big to ignore. I am proud and touched to see in this country that we can actually (with a few notable, embarrassing exceptions) put aside our political differences to make a difference: . Indeed, people of all faiths and beliefs seem to be coming from all corners of the globe to help the people of Haiti.

And I'll just point out that the murderous thugs who claim to work on behalf of God (or Allah, as they call him) have been noticably silent. We know you have the means. How about working for the God you claim to serve and saving and creating rather than killing? You won't, because you are cowardly thugs who truly care nothing for religion. It means something when you feed off of death and chaos and desperation rather than life and truth and light. Just like cockroaches, you only thrive in filth.

I am pleased to see that what our liberal friends still like to call "Ted Kennedy's Seat" is actually back in the hands of the people, to whom it was actually always supposed to belong. That magical 60th senate vote may well be going to Massachusetts Republican state senator Scott Brown. This is very important, because for one thing, it needs to go to someone who represents not just the people of Massachusetts, all Americans, because he'll be voting on something that affects us all. It's also important because we need a reminder that these seats belong to us all. Something else. I feel sorry for the Kennedy's who no longer have Ted. Nobody should have to lose a family member. But it gives us a preview of what life would be (indeed, how it should be) with term limits. The Founding Fathers well understood the dangers of government out of touch and out of control. When people can run for term after term and gather more and more power and money, until they are so entrenched that they are untouchable, we find that we are no longer represented. We find ourselves ruled by distant (not geographically, but culturally), out of touch despots. Despots who regularly submit to show-elections that rank with Cuban and North Korean elections for real challenge and suspense. Truly, there is no greater threat to true democracy in this country than politicians who are so powerful that they have, for all intents and purposes, lifetime appointments. This is how we find ourselves with a government shoving illegal programs down our throats. Illegal programs that are so heinous and crooked that they can only be crafted in secret meetings. Certainly there are exceptions to the lifetime appointments. Sometimes they are so foolish and crooked that they run before they're arrested (so long, Chris Dodd!). But the old axiom still stands. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Term limits now.

Finally, I'd like to talk about forgiveness. I have been guilty of holding grudges many times in my life, against many people. Any real or imagined slight, and I'd decide that they were not only bad people, but that I would never forgive them. Why should I? Why should I let them get away with what they'd done? But I finally realized (and way too late in life for my own taste) that when you refuse to forgive someone, you are really hurting yourself more than anyone else. You are robbing yourself of happiness. Especially if the object of your anger doesn't know or care that you don't forgive them. It's like a house in wintertime where you heat every room but one, and you force yourself to live in that cold room. The only person living in that cold is you. When you forgive, you are freeing yourself of a burden of your own making. And that goes for forgiving yourself. We all do things we regret. We all make mistakes, and it is easy (and probably seems virtuous) to condemn ourselves. But if you can admit to your mistakes and learn from them, it is okay and important to forgive yourself. Nobody can say that they've never regretted anything that they've done, so you've got lots of company. Give yourself a break. Throw it off. Be free. Live your life as fully as possible. The tragedy in Haiti is a good reminder of just how short and precious life can be. Don't waste it.

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