Friday, April 11, 2008

A little compassion never hurt anyone

Today I’ll share something I actually wrote with you, about blind people who are concerned about hybrid cars. Why? The cars are so quiet that they can’t hear them. Blind pedestrians use car engines as cues when walking around their towns.

The video in the piece illustrates the matter pretty well, but what has kept me thinking about it all day are the comments responding to blog posts about the issue.

Apparently some people can be compassionate for the atmosphere but not their fellow man. People actually asked whether any blind person had been run over by a hybrid car yet. I guess that’s the only way for anyone to know there’s a problem, when someone loses their life. Other people suggested the whole thing is part of a conspiracy by car companies, the government and others to keep the hybrid down and gas-guzzling cars thriving.

Those reactions reminded me of my time working in a county whose most vocal residents were unabashedly left-wing. They equated their left-wing status with being progressive, tolerant, and compassionate, and spent a great deal of time patting each other on the back about it.

For the most part they were compassionate, until it came to something they didn’t like, such as homeless people who had the nerve to panhandle in the shopping district or the idea of merging their glowing schools with another district that didn’t teach students Mandarin Chinese.

I've always been careful with my political leanings, given my past career, but I'll say now that I empathized with the left more than the right. The hypocrisy I witnessed in this liberal bastion, though, was stunning and it routinely drove up my blood pressure. When we moved, I was relieved I didn't have to deal with that anymore. Until today, that was the case.

No comments: