osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Do We Believe In Second Chances?

Let us add Jack Abramoff to Michael Vick and the other famous people who raise the difficult question of whether and to what extent we in society give second chances.

Folks will remember Abramoff as "Casino Jack," a man whose name became synonymous with DC corruption and lobbying. Abramoff has finished his sentence at a minimum security Federal jail (his sentence was light because of his extensive cooperation with prosecutors) and has now joined forces with Public Citizen and Sunlight Foundation -- two organizations of long standing and good reputation for ferreting out DC corruption and pushing for greater disclosure of campaign financing.

I will note that what is often missed in the poles between acceptance and scorn is the middle ground. I believe in repentance, and I also recognize it can be cynically manipulated. I recognize that someone genuinely repentant can be turned away by an overabundance of suspicion, and that even someone sincerely repentant can once again fall short and turn back to the wrong path. But none of these answers the fundamental question. If we are not to make "death" the penalty for all crimes, then what would you prefer? Abramoff is offering to put his knowledge and skills at the service of those who have long opposed the sort of corruption in which Abramoff engaged. It seems to me he ought to be taken up on his offer.

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