Yesterday, our sermon was focused on compassion. The minister — Jeff — said compassion is often confused for charity or pity. Really, compassion is trying to understand the other side and find similarities, not providing platitudes or feeling superior by providing for someone less fortunate.
My weekend included a blur of work and fun. The choreography of my schedule lately has left me running from one thing to another and not paying enough attention to what I’m saying or how I’m acting. (Yes, I’m my biggest critic.) After having fun with friends at the ASU basketball game Saturday afternoon, we ended up at our friend’s sports bar drinking wine and eating nachos.
Come on, who wouldn’t want to drink with that adorable face? Bec and I sat outside on the patio enjoying our time while the boys went back to the game for the second half. We hadn’t caught up in a while and it was so nice to enjoy the weather and just have girl time. Then I looked at my watch and realized I was to be at a debate about a mile away in 10 minutes. Of course, I’m wearing heels and jeans. Saying a quick goodbye, I raced (teeter tottered) through campus to Gammage Theater to hear Karl Rove debate Howard Dean.
(Cameras weren’t allowed and this is the best I could do without a flash.)
When Karl Rove took the stage, I joined in the frenzy and booed. I’m not proud of it, but in the moment, with a couple glasses of wine under my belt and a lot of anger about the war brimming in my heart — I screamed along with the rude masses. My friend Juliann sat next to me with disgust. It was fairly immediate that I realized I was acting like an idiot and should have given the man a chance to speak.
In fact, the debate brought out the ugliest in the crowd. While I then limited my reactions to appropriate clapping, there were dozens of interruptions from people shouting from the balconies. It made me sad that Tempe portrayed itself in such a crass way.
It wasn’t until Sunday morning, still confused and angered by a lot that was said at the debate, that I realized finding a common ground politically in our country is going to take heaps of compassion. I should have been merciful. I should have been kind. I should have listened more clearly for the similarities, rather than clapping at each of the differences I thought made me superior.
So, I don’t like a lot of Rove’s policy decisions. I remain steadfast that war isn’t the answer and that there must have been another way to handle our conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan. I also think the amount of money we are spending on warfare is criminal and could be the final straw for our economy’s back. But, there were things he said that I did agree with too. I am a big believer in personal responsibility first and foremost. I think government should be smaller and community should be strengthened to help citizens in need. I think our immigration policy is failing wildly.
I look forward to having lunch with my friend Dena this week; she was at the debate and our political views couldn’t be more different. I plan on speaking less and listening more. There has to be a middle ground.