It does not take long for sympathetic utterances to give way to blaming, shaming, and other forms of gaming in our culture.
We believe and affirm that black lives matter for a few days or hours after an unjust killing ... or at least until young people begin to express their anger over years of injustice and start crying for correction. Then. we make the issue about them and the minority of "protesters" who express their anger with violence.
It justifies something inside of us that reinforces our biases about things being mostly OK with only isolated instances of implicit bias.
Then, we polarize, and we find it difficult to express care for the innocent shop holders whose stores are looted or the honest caring police officers who try to protect them.
Or we show sympathy for victims of fire, but we are not satisfied with that. Tree huggers like me feel that we have to blame trim trimmers and others have to blame environmentalists and it is those who are suffering that get left behind in our mudslinging and blame-shame-game.
And we all point our fingers at the other political party, forgetting that parties are people and people are our neighbors.
It seems that who we care about is a political statement in a polarized culture.
Where we place our sympathy, empathy, and compassion is an ideological issue.
A politic of compassion rejects that dichotomy.
It is not either/or.
It is not, "I have compassion, but ..."
Virus prevention is not a partisan issue any more than caring for the oppress, comforting the afflicted, visiting the sick and imprisoned, feeding the hungry, or housing the homeless. How and to whom we show that we value life over death and protect the vulnerable is not subject to party platforms.
Praying and working for peace is neither conservative nor liberal by its nature.
These are issues we should be dealing with, but in an honest, open, intelligent, and mutually respectful context.
Could we, perhaps, withhold judgment and be willing to forsake our free throws and cheap shops, relinquish our rhetorical advantage, and step back in favor of loving our neighbors?
We are not called to win in this game. We are called to help everyone win. We are called to follow the Way of Jesus and the path of love and grace.
For today, that is spelled, C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N.
If we need an example, let us look to the character of God.