Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pat Kennedy, the Representative from Ad Nauseam

There has been a lot of pixels spilt over Rep. Pat Kennedy's recent run-in with the law for driving under the influence (yes, being on drugs--perscription or otherwise--is being "under the influence"). Without greatly increasing the static, I'd like to add my own perspective.

One theme I see a lot of is: "Do you think that if it were an ordinary person, like you or I, he would have gotten off without charges?" Well, maybe not...but then again maybe. Police sometimes give people (yes, ordinary people) warnings about driving under the influence instead of arresting them. Sometimes people take those warnings and learn from them, and sometimes they don't. If anyone were to argue that police should never give a warning, then fine.

I believe that Rep. Kennedy has a problem, just like Rush Limbaugh has a problem. How many reading this rushed to defend Rush, yet now have a pat condemnation of Pat?

Do I believe that both men have tried to minimize their culpability for their actions? Perhaps, but by going into rehab they both (hopefully) take ownership of their problems and face up to something most of us never will have to. Addiction and the depression that often goes hand in hand with it are terrible things. They are, in fact, illnesses.

None of this is to suggest that personal responsibility should go out the window--but who got hurt? Where is the forgiveness in our society?

I don't believe that this should be a partisan issue, and I for one believe he deserves a little grace.


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