That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

Watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!

It hurt so bad, just like I knew that it would.

Posted by kozemp on August 15, 2009

So me and Shane were talking over GChat last night about the PGA Championship, when this bit of conversation happens:

Shane: Vick to the Eagles.

Me: That’s not funny.

Shane: ESPN just reported it.

My initial reaction, as evidenced by my Facebook status moments thereafter, was “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” Michael Vick is a scumbag. He’s evil. We should bury him in the sand at low tide.

Then this morning I started reading the reactions, and near as I can tell they boil down to two basic ideas:

1) “Michael Vick is the spawn of the devil. His actions are unforgivable. Signing him is a morally bankrupt act.”

2) “Signing Michael Vick is just peachy. Have you ever eaten meat? Then you’re just as bad! He’s an okay guy, we should move on!”

Both of these positions are, to put it politely, ridiculous. If you hold either of them you are, to put it politely, fucking stupid.

Let’s get something straight: what Michael Vick did was horrifying. It was HORRIFYING. Don’t give me this crap about how we kill 900 trillion animals every day for food. The two are not remotely similar. Again, if you think slaughtering a cow for steaks and electrocuting a dog to death because it didn’t win a fight are the same thing, you are fucking stupid.

So, yes, this is a man who committed awful, despicable acts. There is no denying this. There is no minimizing it. Nothing you or I or anyone else says changes or lessens what he did. Him going to prison, in fact, doesn’t lessen what he did. It does not erase the stain on his soul, if there is such a thing. It means he was punished for it, yes, but that’s all it means. It doesn’t mitigate the act. Doing the time does not erase the crime.

However.

An awful lot of the vitriol directed at Vick and the Eagles the last 24 hours uses the word “unforgivable.” What Vick did was unforgivable. The Eagles signing him is unforgivable. Being a fan of an Eagles team with Vick on it is unforgivable.

It was reading comment after comment with that word “unforgivable” when I started to think that this whole Michael Vick thing had gone completely around the bend. It is not your place to forgive Michael Vick. It flat-out is not. You have no say in the matter. The only people who have the right or the standing to forgive him or not are his family and… well, what on Quantum Leap they used to call “God or fate or time or whatever.”

I kept reading the “unforgivable” screed over and over and I finally thought, you know what, that is a line of thinking I just cannot get behind.

I am a terrible, terrible Catholic, but I was still raised as one and the idea of an unpardonable act or an unforgivable person is anathema to those teachings. Hell, that’s not just us, that’s basically any Christian faith, or at least it should be. When you strip away all the window dressing – the rituals and doctrines and legends and everything else that has accreted over 2000 years – the lowest-common-denominator rock-bottom-line of Christianity, the most important thing that Jesus tried to teach us was “be good to each other.” That’s it. Everything else is bullshit. Everything else is just the story and the meaningless junk that we’ve constructed around it the last two millenia, but the core of the story, the moral is what really matters: be good to each other. Help each other. Stand up for one another. You are stronger together than you are apart.

Be good to each other.

We can’t say that we believe in redemption and then, when the chance comes, decide that we are unwilling to offer it. We don’t get to redeem people we admire. That’s why it’s a SECOND chance. That’s what redemption IS. It’s giving someone who made the wrong choices the chance to make the right ones. It’s making something good out of something bad. It is believing that none of us are too far gone that the rest of us shouldn’t at least try to turn them around.

As a society and as individual people, either we believe in forgiveness or we don’t. Either we believe in redemption or we don’t.

I can’t see the future. I don’t know if this will succeed. I don’t know if Michael Vick can be redeemed. But I know we have to try.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Michael.

Don’t fuck this up.

JLK

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