Since writing of my friendship with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, I have been flooded with responses. Some have been kind, but many -- perhaps a majority -- have heaped on me the revulsion these writers also heaped on him. Perhaps the unkindest cut of all was the writer who accused me of "going wobbly."
What am I trying to accomplish when I engage in criticism? Do I want to present superior arguments I hope my political opponent will at least consider, if not adopt, or is my objective simply to make me feel better by engaging in moral superiority? If it's the latter, I am committing the sin of pride, which goes before all the others.
Senator Kennedy's list of sins are well known, from sexual promiscuity, to offering help to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov in exchange for his assistance in defeating Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. The latter act is properly criticized, even denounced. The former can easily fall into the judgmental category.
Public exposure of private sins reminds us of our own cover-ups. Each of us is capable of doing what Senator Kennedy did, given the right circumstances and opportunity. This doesn't excuse them. It does explain them.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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