Where is kindness and compassion when we need it most?

Photo by Marta Branco

Were we not put on this earth to serve others?  It is certainly not about the accumulation of the most toys.  News flash, it is unlikely all your stuff will be on flatbed trucks trailing behind your funeral procession when your time here is up.   Regardless of the color of one’s skin, place of origin, beliefs, lifestyle, political affiliation, you name it, we are supposed to have compassion for others.  Yes, there are many differences between us as human beings, but we also have a lot in common.  It is within those points of intersection that we should be focusing our interactions with humanity rather than hurling stones out of our glass houses at others over our disagreements.
For the most part, we all love our families and friends, pray for good health, prosperity, safety, and the freedoms we are supposed to be entitled to as citizens of this country.  We laugh when our kids do something funny, cry at sad movies, and root for our home teams.  Why then do far too many people look at life as a zero-sum game with only winners and losers?  We assume that because someone doesn’t parrot or embrace our own beliefs, that they are somehow defective.  It is human nature that we will often disagree with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even our own families.  That doesn’t mean that we must also be disagreeable.  Annette Bening’s character Sydney Ellen Wade in the American President said it well:  How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can’t stand Americans?  It is in the political arena that kindness and compassion seem to be dying traits. 
We fight for fighting’s sake.  There is no middle ground anymore.  A “winner takes all” mentality is at play.   The irony is that in that kind of battle, there actually are no winners, only losers.  Our country suffers today because too many people in position to affect public policy choose to be disagreeable rather than behave like the public servants they allegedly were elected to be.  It is certainly not reflective of love of country, nor loving your neighbor as yourself as God instructs us.  An embarrassing lust for power and influence is the primary driver.  Public discourse in our seats of power have turned into petty fighting, lying, and name calling.  A friend appropriately called it “intellectual malpractice.”  Folks we place our trust in, obfuscate with stunning audacity, and are seldom called out for it by their peers out of fear of losing a political race.     
Kindness and compassion are sorely lacking today and should be required character traits of those worthy of positions of power who make such difficult decisions with broad impact.  However, we are the ones responsible for voting to keep putting these jokers in power, so the buck stops with us, yes?   Maybe we need to brush up on being kind and compassionate to others ourselves to better set the tone of what is acceptable behavior from those we charge with governing.  It is a sign of true leadership and strength, not weakness.  Anger, bitterness, and lack of forgiveness also literally make us sick. 
I get that it is not easy and does indeed take practice.  What can you do today to demonstrate kindness and compassion towards someone else who is different on the surface than yourself?  Our kids are watching us intently and will likely emulate our behavior when they become adults.  The stakes are therefore high, with the idea of a more perfect union in jeopardy if we don’t make the effort to treat others with the same dignity and respect, that we crave for ourselves.   And with all due diligence.  So why wouldn’t we as Otis Redding admonished in the song of the same name:  Try a little tenderness. 
Your move,