Apparently, many on the political right are without sin, because they wasted no time after Senator Ted Kennedy's death to start casting as many stones as possible.
Right wingers so often focus on religion or morals as the basis for their politics. That's part of what drives the anti-Roe v. Wade movement, though, interestingly, not the right's support for the death penalty. As I watched the coverage of Ted Kennedy's death, and listened to and read accounts that dripped with unbridled contempt, I had to wonder where the right's so-called Christian values were for an American who accomplished much and whose family was grieving. And, more specifically, how could those on the right who have sinned just as much as they accuse Ted Kennedy of, have the gall to make things harder for those who are suffering the loss of the patriarch of their family?
Granted, Ted Kennedy did a lot of things in his life that wouldn't earn him any medals. But why is it that those who hate the left find it acceptable to trash a political icon in the days after his death? Whether you agreed with his politics or not, can't most of us admit that the late Senator Kennedy did accomplish good things for the country? If Orrin Hatch can acknowledge that, then it ought to be easy for others, as well.
I always thought that one of the main components of religion was forgiveness. Is that a lesson that Kennedy's right-wing critics missed out on? In the hours after Kennedy's death, I was shocked to see that Twitter was a-tweet with critiques of Kennedy's personal life, including messages that bashed him for missing Senate votes in the last year of his life while he was fighting brain cancer.
Seems to me that a terminal brain tumor buys you a little slack on that one.
I'm not saying that Ted Kennedy's personal failings are things that we can or should forget -- some of them were so big they've become part of our collective Kennedy family knowledge, even for those who weren't old enough to remember when they happened. It's too much to expect any person to be perfect. Yet, that seems to be exactly the drum beat that some right wing conservatives want us to hear as we remember Ted Kennedy -- that his accomplishments should be given short shrift because he was significantly less than a perfect man.
No sin is a good one; we've all sinned. But I'd rather have a person in the Senate who sinned on his personal time than on the country's time. When it comes to righteousness, I'd rather that someone be concerned about not putting Americans into harm's way for no good reason than with who they are spending their time with after hours.
I'm not a particularly religious person, but if there is a God, I wouldn't want to be one of those on the right who are making Ted Kennedy out to have been the worst man on the planet and who did nothing to contribute to the greater good. Because if there is a God, they"re going to have a lot of explaining to do for their own actions when they meet their maker.
I'm glad I don't have to worry about whether those on the conservative right will be the final arbiters of who is forgiven on this earth. And if I were them, I'd be throwing a few less stones at other people's glass houses. They've got plenty of their own who have fallen short of their picture of moral perfection.
Joanne Bamberger writes about politics at her blog, PunditMom, as well as at BlogHer, where she is a Contributing Editor for News & Politics, MOMocrats and MomsRising. Her book about the increasing involvement of mothers in politics, Mothers of Intention, will be published by Bright Sky Press in the Fall of 2010.