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how much of who we were…what we've done…defines who we are now?

colin powell's endorsement of obama has sent ripples through both the republican and democratic wings. one screaming traitor for what he did today, the later for what he did years ago. and i am left wondering is it possible to truly overcome past mistakes?

looking at our judicial system the answer is clear…no, you can't. it is why we revoke a felon's right to vote, why job applications ask about prior convictions. ours is a system of punishment, vengeance. if we were about rehabilitation or correction than those things would be unnecessary. instead they are labels attached to their owners for a lifetime.

and even where the law is in tact, a lapse in judgment, a different perspective, any indiscretion is equally attached to you. i do it…i assume most people do. it is the common sense wisdom we hold ourselves smart enough to follow…once a cheater always a cheater…fool me twice shame on me…

the overwhelming sentiment is that people don't change. what you were is what you are. and on some level it is true. there are aspects of me that remain unchanged. there are people who knew the interiors of me years ago, lifetimes, who even now, when they occasionally reemerge, are able to speak to me in the most intimate ways because parts of me are unchanged.

but not all of me. there are aspects of me that are altered. Some for the better but not all…there are things i have done that i regret or grieve. relationships that ended in ways i wish they hadn't. and i would hate to be held to those.

a few weeks ago i read something that took the evolution debate to a place i had never thought about. instead of it being about evolution in the past…people from apes, from some cosmic slime it focused on evolution in the present. birds with no predators no longer flying…the slow adaptation of living things to their surroundings.

the article talked about disbelief in evolution as a representation of stagnation. the idea that the world and all of its occupants are unchanged, unchanging, unchangeable.

that notion scares me.

when i was in the fifth grade i made a girl in my class cry. i still feel bad about that. i wish i could take it back. i carry it with me and try to be mindful of hurtful things i can say or do so as not to make a habit of repeating it.

i am made up of hundreds of such incidents…some miniscule some large…as many celebratory as condemning. Neither represents fully who i am. none define me entirely. for the bad, i hope that my memory of them, my remorse, my attempts to rectify – to learn, my future successes define me more.

powell mislead the nation – then. he is lending his name to try to make it better – now. traitor or hero, sinner or saint…we're all in a state of flux.

1 Comment on what i do i am

  1. TY says:

    I share your sentiments. I really hate that our society doesn't practice forgiveness.

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