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On Second Chances

June 24, 2010

One of the best things about our country is that it is a land of second chances. More so than just about any other culture, we can forgive and forget. Not so in Europe and Asia. If you bring shame upon your family and social circle, you’re shunned. You become an outcast and life really sucks. This is why so many people off themselves in other nations. Suicide rates in Japan, for example, are many times greater than in the U.S. 

Why this observation? Two guys who dominated public life in New York in recent years are in the news again with opportunities, perhaps, for redemption. 

Eliot Spitzer will host a debate program on CNN. While there are a lot of people who are still furious with him and who think he’s an awful man, we’re pleased for him. We don’t believe this is a “I’m starved for attention and I’ll do anything for it” thing. In fact, this gig appears to have been very carefully considered. The pairing with the conservative woman is brilliant. If he’s able to show that he can engage a woman with respect as an intellectual equal and if he has good chemistry (not that kind) with her, it will hasten his repatriation. 

Joe Bruno, meanwhile, has been handed at least a chance at avoiding jail as a result of a Supreme Court ruling today on the so-called “honest services” law.  No, we’re not giving Bruno a pass on his conduct any more than we are with Spitzer.  Bruno used his office to enrich himself. He misused government resources. It was wrong. But does the man belong in the slammer? We don’t think so. At 80-something, it will be hard for Bruno to have a second act, but we hope he finds something meaningful and constructive to do. And knowing something about him, we think he’ll try.    

To the extent these two men move on with their lives and have real accomplishments, it is good for all of us. It’s another demonstration of how tough and resilient New Yorkers are, and a reaffirmation of our standing as a place where second chances are indeed possible.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 24, 2010 3:49 PM

    Second Chances, Second Acts . . .[even at 80]

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