published earlier on OurSalon
I've had a conversation with another blogger over a long period of time and over multiple posts, and we have never reached agreement. It has to do with two views of morality. I devoted a pair of posts to this issue on Open Salon, one entitled Dirty Hands and the other entitled The Gift. Basically, it comes down to efficacy vs. purity. This other blogger is of the opinion that one should never vote against one's views on any issue under any circumstances, even as a legislator. I am of the opinion that the purpose of the legislator, that for which he/she was hired, is to accomplish things for constituents and for whatever overall entity the legislature serves (in the case of Congress, the United States) or, more simply put, to actually help people. In other words, we are on opposite sides of whether compromise ever makes sense.
As you can imagine, I sometimes had my morality impugned during the course of this conversation. One could get the impression that I simply favor expedience.
I don't. The best way I can think of to put it is a way I put it in a comment on my most recent post on OS. Here is the text of that comment.
What do you think of Ted Kennedy? He was a successful senator for a long time and he horse-traded all over the place, probably voted for a bloody fortune in pork barrel over his legislative career.
What this meant was that when there was something he really wanted to accomplish, he had the poltical capital to do it. One of the things he spent that capital on was ADA, the Americans for Disabilities Act.
I spent nearly eighteen years raising and caring for a son with a severe disability. When you're in a wheelchair, particularly a power wheelchair, a curb might as well be a cliff. Those stupid curb cuts made all the difference in the world. When you're loading and unloading a 100 lb. kid from a car in the rain (which in my case meant lifting him - we didn't have a lift van - and physically positioning him in and out of his wheelchair), handicapped parking meant a lot. The fact that schools had to cope with his disability meant that his life was closer to normal rather than just institutionalized, which is what it would have had to have been years earlier because there's no way he could have gone to school without a PCA (personal care assistant).
I thank God for Ted Kennedy's dirty hands. You'd have said that he should have refused to compromise on any vote about anything.
I'm glad you can afford to think like that. Congratulations. Some of us can't.
And the idea that it was immoral of Ted Kennedy to do what had to be done to help people like my son is outside of my comprehension, where it will remain.
Morality doesn't exist in a vacuum. If purity keeps you from helping people,
And that, for me, is a deeply felt moral position, and I do mean moral position.
- October 01
- Male, Jewish, in my fifties, married with kids (well, at this point I guess that should be "kid"). Thanks to Lezlie for avatar artwork - sort of a translation of my screen name. "Salaam" is peace in Arabic, hence the peace sign. (No, my name doesn't mean "hunk of meat" and yes, the pun is intentional.)
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