Hubert Humphrey, career politician and 38th Vice President of the United States.
I saw this floating around Facebook today, and it got me to thinking. I absolutely agree with the Honorable Mr. Humphrey that compassion and concern are great things. Where he and I strongly disagree is in what this really means to the individual. It is a warm and reaffirming emotion to help those in need of help, but can you really gain an understanding of compassion and concern when you are spending someone else’s money?
The Government does not have compassion; it is an institution and as such has no emotion or feeling. Its officers and workforce obviously have varying degrees of concern and caring, but at the end of the day they are not making a personal commitment to help they are working for political gain or because it is their job. There are some who believe the government should care for the unfortunate, and as much as the Democrats would have you believe it is only them, that is totally false on its face. It is pure politics and a specific bias that paints those who question the value of spending other people’s money in ways that have proven ineffective as uncaring and without compassion.
For example, is it compassion that spurs some to incite riots in protestation to a perceived wrong? Is it concern that organizes the groups to destroy towns because they don’t like a decision? Or are these actions actually a reflection of the true greed for power that spurs those who seek the fame and notoriety of the media. Compassion and caring are quiet qualities that seek to improve the lives of others. People like Mother Teresa of Calcutta show compassion and caring as a model for how we should live, not the Al Sharpton’s who play the game for personal gain.
What shows the greater compassion, developing a culture that has no hope for advancement, living each day for its stipend from the government, or is it in setting an expectation they can succeed and should not settle for minimum wage jobs as the final option? Is a society that on the one hand condemns the inequity of the rich and poor, but expects that only the rich will contribute to the maintenance of that society a compassionate one? Which politicians show the greatest compassion, the ones who expect that even the poorest can succeed, or the ones who want only to pay them in the crumbs from the government troth, borrowing money it doesn’t have to keep them bound in the chains of poverty?
Where is the compassion when we see the unions and politicians making excuses for the poor performance of the teachers they assign to the poorest schools? If we were truly concerned wouldn’t we attempt to hold those very schools, those very teachers and those very students to a higher standard so we can begin to reverse the cycle of ignorance we have chained our poor youth to?
I believe children grow to meet a parent’s expectation. When all a parent knows is poverty and fear, is it compassion to allow those children to grow only to those expectations? How do we break the chain of failed expectations? Is it by throwing money at them, allowing those who feed off this to grow rich, or by setting the conditions where business can create jobs that bring with them a sense of self-worth? I believe compassion and concern should drive us to the latter course.
Those in government and in the media who push the idea of a compassionate government have shown over the last six years it is only an illusion, used to gain political advantage. Unfortunately far too few ever really consider the implications of these mimes. It is like promising a government of transparency and then working to close the blinds through bluff and bluster when actions are questioned.