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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Buddy, can you spare some compassion?

I guess it all comes down to the how you define "compassionate."

"Compassionate conservatives" have left me scratching my head these days, starting with Mike Huckabee's incredibly unfunny crack about Barack Obama and a loud noise at the NRA convention to the stream of vitriol greeting word of Ted Kennedy's seizure.

I'm not saying lefties are not above an occasional off-color or totally inappropriate remark about a political opposite. But frankly, when I look at the sad state of American society today, I see the price we have paid for the bile of the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters who gracelessly make millions exploiting the foibles of their foes.

When they aren't questioning their patriotism or humanity. And honestly, do they have really counterparts on the left?

And it has exploded all over again on the Internet, where people don't think twice about making vile comments urging Kennedy's death. Maybe it's the anonymity, the chance to bare your deepest, innermost prejudices without having to face the consequence.

I chose anonymity in my posts for professional reasons. But, given my training as a journalist who would not allow anonymity for derogatory comments, I try to keep my criticisms to facts backed up by links proving my argument.

And I like to think I keep away from personal insult, although some of my comments about George Bush and Dick Cheney may come close to the line. But then again, they don't exactly have pristine records on that score either.

I cringe at the comments likely to be generated in a general election campaign that will feature an African-American and a 71-year-old white male (or, to be a fair, a 60-year-old white woman.) Of course, most of the trash will be hurled at the black man, not the aging one.

We've been fighting the culture wars in this country for far too long. Isn't it time for a cease fire and show me have some culture -- and compassion?

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