CHURCH OF TWAIN: The nature of ‘forgiveness’ and friendship


  Listening to fallen former Clark County Commissioner Mary
Kincaid-Chauncey talk about her experiences during her two years in a
federal prison camp following her political corruption convictions, I
thought about how long she had been in the public eye.


  At 70, she spent 27 years in elected office and several weeks in a
federal courtroom before a jury found her guilty and a judge shipped
her off to camp at Victorville, Calif. During her speech before a
local Christian men’s group
on Thursday, she recalled a line from her
attorney, Richard Wright, about what to expect following her
conviction.


  “You won’t lose any friends,” Wright told her, “but you’ll find out
who your friends are.”


  And she did. Her husband, Bob Chauncey, and her family stayed close
to her. Others from her life kept in contact.


  The rest of the crowd moved on.


  Saint Mark Twain of Missouri had little use for politicians of any
degree, especially tainted ones, and his one-liners about legislators
and congressmen are some of the best ever minted.


  But he had a couple things to say about forgiveness, at least
forgiveness of self, as well as the nature of friendship.


  “Forget and forgive,” Twain once said. “This is not difficult, when
properly understood. It means you are to forget inconvenient duties,
and forgive yourself for forgetting. In time, by rigid practice and
stern determination, it comes easy.”


  I practice this brand of forgiveness all the time.


  As for friendship, Twain defined the role of a true friend this way:
  “The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in
the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the
right.”


  I wonder if the former commissioner would concur.