BOSTON (CBS) – The holiday season – the time of year when we emphasize goodwill toward one another – is at hand.
And it will be marked next week, appropriately enough, by the long overdue release to home confinement of ailing former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who has served five years of his eight-year sentence for taking bribes while in office.
Dimasi, a federal judge ruled, has been punished enough for his crimes through the disgrace of his conviction, his five years of confinement, and the destruction of his health during that time. And the judge shortened his sentence, he said, in the pursuit of the “appropriately compassionate administration of justice.”
Dimasi’s release will surely be met with mixed reactions, because the concepts of compassion and forgiveness seem to be alien to many of us.
If you have a strong stomach, check out the online comments under news stories about victims of crime or people trying to make amends for past mistakes.
There is something about the internet and social media that seems to embolden and elicit the worst in mankind, and while they may have always been lurking in the shadows, that doesn’t ease the disgust that their contempt for mankind evokes.
Even a self-proclaimed bleeding-heart like former Gov. Deval Patrick couldn’t bring himself to put in a good word for DiMasi when the extent of his illness became known a few years ago, walking away from our camera when I asked him if he’d support a compassionate release.
St. Augustine said, “we can hate the sin but still love the sinner.” Sal DiMasi’s homecoming is a test of whether we believe that or not.