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.