HE’S OUR PATRICK

I for one will be sorry to see Patrick Kennedy leave politics. Hey, he’s not perfect. Are you? He has served the people of Rhode Island for his entire adult life to date. And he has done it well. Yes, he has problems. But if he had not had those problems, he would most likely not have had so much empathy for people with problems. And come on, let’s be honest – we knew what we were getting when we elected him. It was long known his mother was an alcoholic. And while his father may not have been, he was certainly a heavy duty abuser of alcohol. I mean, we knew the odds.

This is an attitude that bothers me. You like a person for what he does/produces but then you tear him to shreds for what he is. But it is what he is, that makes him produce what he does. Being Irish, I am a bit more familiar with this than some other groups. Would Brendan Behan have written Borstal Boy and all his other wonderful books, plays and poems were he not the sum of all his parts – including being an alcoholic?

We are all the sum of our parts. There is such a desire in America, especially, to have everything pasteurized and homogenized. Walk in step. You are mad if you do not conform. Personally, I see a cobblestone street and I am likely to start skipping and singing at the top of my lungs. Just one of my many quirks. What was the old joke, if you were poor you were crazy, if you were rich you were eccentric… What about the mentally ill person who stops taking their meds because they leave them feeling dead inside and they want to feel alive – crazy or not.

I could go on. But what I am trying to say is that we need to be more accepting of people as they are – with all their flaws. Not everyone wants to be “cured”. I for one do not feel I have the right to condemn Patrick because he chooses every now and then to give in to his addictions. I want to thank you Patrick, for all you have done for the people of Rhode Island and this country. If you want help, I hope you find it. But if you say, screw it, I want to go out tonight and pound down some shots no matter what anyone thinks, have one on me.

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