Our Deficit is Huge — Our Compassion Deficit…

There is a huge deficit in the United States right now, and it isn’t a financial deficit. It is a deficit of compassion.  As a nation, and all the way down to our local communities, we are not being compassionate.

One of the most well-known stories of compassion is the story of the Good Samaritan.  The parable tells us a certain man went from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves.  They stripped him, beat him and left him half dead.  A priest saw him and passed by on the other side.  A Levite saw him and passed to the other side.  But a Samaritan saw him and had compassion on him.

Sometimes compassion isn’t easy.  It is really easy to justify passing by on the other side.  It could be dangerous, or maybe we’re in a hurry, it might be uncomfortable, or gross, or smells!  Regardless of the reason, and we are all guilty of passing by, passing by is never right.  We have been called to help our neighbor — to love our neighbor, and love means acting to meet that need of our neighbor.

We are not meeting those needs, and politics and the politicians we elect are exacerbating the problem.

Politicians, even politicians who claim to be compassionate, or to be followers, are waging a war on compassion.  There is a frame being used by many people that depict those mired in poverty, those who are unemployed, and those who accept social service aid as lazy, unworthy, users and freeloaders.  Or they see someone who came here to benefit from the riches of the greatest nation in the world as a parasite.  The continuous use of this frame makes disdain toward people easy to accept and compassion hard.

Politicians say we are going broke because of these people.  These human beings…

Some of these same politicians dismiss our engagement in two wars when they talk about going broke.  While we are killing human beings…

These politicians and their supporters are using this framing technique to foment a war.  It is a war on government.  It is a war to support one’s own self interest.  And it is a war being waged on a segment of the population that can’t fight back.

And worse yet, the politicians and parties waging this war are waging it like a drone war.  People who are poor, immigrants and people with disabilities don’t have the time, or the power or the ability to fight the rich, the well-connected and the powerful.  They don’t meet their elected officials, or sometimes even have the time or energy to vote.  So politicians can lob bombs at these invisible people without seeing the devastation it causes first hand.

There is no compassion.  And they use finances to justify the lack of compassion.  It is justified because one person over here took advantage of the system, one person took a vacation while unemployed, one person buys candy instead of bread.  But everybody deserves compassion.

And it isn’t just equal compassion that they deserve, they deserve even greater consideration!  I could quote Jesus on this, but I don’t think I need to.

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One thought on “Our Deficit is Huge — Our Compassion Deficit…”

  1. Good post.

    I was watching the CNN TEA Party Republican Presidential candidates debate when the crowd vocalized its response in a way that shocked me …. reminding me of Pontius Pilate, Barabbas, and Jesus.
    Consider this, Barabbas was accused with leading a rebellion against the Roman government … which would result in crucifiction. But the practice at that time allowed for the Governor to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

    And they said, “Barabbas.”

    “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.
    They all answered, “Crucify him ! ”

    Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”

    And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

    Now the moment that I refer to was not from a question posed at Texas Governor Rick Perry (who receive such a positive vocal reaction at the previous debate when Brian Williams noted the number of executions during the Perry tenure) … but instead to a question posed to Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul, a medical doctor and as such one would presume would be guided by the principles of the Hippocratic Oath, was asked by Moderator Wolf Blitzer what should be done in the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care — Should the state pay his bills?
    Paul responded, “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—”
    He never quite finished that point, letting the audience’s loud applause finish it for him.
    So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that “society should just let him die,” which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd.
    Paul essentially was leaving it up to churches and other charity organizations to care for the dying young man.
    So basically, the crowd at the TEA Party debate was saying … “let him die.”

    That apparently might be the current thinking from the Republican Party as Newt Gingrich weighed in on CNN regarding healthcare for the needy …
    Blitzer: But that money should come from charitable organizations, not from taxpayers? Is that what you’re saying? […]
    Gingrich: I would prefer to see it come from charitable organizations.

    It’s not politics … it’s our society that needs to take a hard at what our purpose is …. and for that I am reminded of a quote by WH Auden “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

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