Recently, opher asked What is the Greatest Human Attribute .To my mind it is compassion, but I do not wish to debate that here, it was welll done there. My concern is that it appears that compassion has been coopted.
A Boddhisattva is an individual who has forsaken Nirvana for the sake of the welfare of his or her fellow beings. This is an act of great compassion, one of the hallmarks of Buddhism. But let us look at how compassion is used.misused and characterized today.
I have a muslim friend who I have tea with (he has coffee) every friday and one day he was very upset. He leaned over close to me, looked me straight in the eye and quietly said “fuck compassion”. I was startled, neither of us generally swear, but then he went on “just….hear me out”. Then he explained that his wife is a liberal and she and her liberal nonmuslim friends get together and the next thing they come up with is that we should invade Syria because of this monstrousity Bashar al Assad. He said “ I dont give a fuck if they deport me or every other muslim in this country -IF the US would stop regime change and stop bombing the ME. Then he would simply head home. He would prefer it there.
According to him Compassion is the neoliberal head fake to justify regime change, killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, Syria, Lybia,….. Compassion is raising up a dead baby. claiming gas attacks, and ordering missile strikes on Syria. One can even watch when you hear a discussion regarding Russia meddling in our election, somehow, miraculously someone brings up the dictator Putin and how he treats his citizens, as if that has any relevance to the issue. Similarly, almost every time I hear people talk about the dangers posed by Kim Jong Un, he is referred to as a dictator and some mention is made about the poor North Koreans, again like those issues have anything to do with our national security. Simply the word “regime” should make one suspicious of the users intentions.. Indeed, compassion has been well used since Wilson in his Making the World Safe for Democracy campaign that has destroyed many democracies and has clearly not made the world safer.
On the other hand, Compassion is also protesting the dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima while ignoring the fact that we killed 500,000 people in the fire bombing of Tokyo. Moreover, you hear some say “no human is illegal” as if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like compassion means that the US has no right to determine who resides within it borders. You hear discussion of “immigrants” without any dilineation between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants, again as if there is no difference. And then there is DACA. Listening to Democracy Now you hear many personal accounts that have nothing to do with the issue of illegal immigration. except for the human interest and its ability to mobilize compassion. Amidst much real compassion there lives the cooptation of compassion as a political tool.
The neutralization of expressions of compassion is something that I have also observed alot lately, Evidently, there are those who have been to the deserts of Arizona, Mexico and New Mexico and still appear not to feel compassion for someone willing to risk their life and the life of their child to make that crossing. Is there anyone here with a child who can imagine what that journey must be like and truly, in their heart, not have compassion? I suspect not really. But that is not what you often hear. I have heard many expressing their lack of compassion for muslims in Iraq, Lybia and Syria as if their religion is why they are in the mess they are in, and in some sense deserve their suffering. On the other hand, there is a whole political movement out there which uses this suffering to promote an agenda that has little to do with compassion either. Consequently, when you bring up compassion, sometimes you are ridiculed as some lilly livered snowflake with no sense. Why? I suspect it is because they feel they can connect you with those using compassion illegitimately for their political goals. That, or a few less flattering reasons I can think of.
Finally, with compassion coopted, it is much easier for the Elites to divide us and conquer us. Many Liberals have no compassion and therefore no empathy for anyone who voted for Trump and many Conservatives have no compassion and therefore no empathy for those who did not. And therefore, this circus is blinding us to not only who are the real perpetuators but their destruction of our constitution and our state before our very eyes.