Compassion and integrity

Dear President Trump,

Lately when finishing my private LKM prayers I’ve been sending out additional intentions for us all to behave kindly and respectfully. This morning, though, I landed on compassion and integrity and for some reason the deep connection between the two was apparent to me in a way I’d not grasped before. I think part of it had to do with those images of you holding that little piece of paper with the five reminders of things to ask the MSD students to show you have some pseudo-empathy juxtaposed with your conclusion that the way to improve children’s safety is to arm their teachers. I know I laid into you about this yesterday and while it’s tempting to continue the rant, it will be more productive to draw out this relationship I’m seeing between compassion and integrity.

You see, I think these two ways of being are integrally linked because when one feels another’s suffering or truly attempts to understand their circumstance, unless one is a sociopath, it is impossible to be underhanded, mean, or crooked towards them. When there is a failure of compassion, we are much more likely to take license to act only in our own self-interest, integrity be damned. We tend to see others as objects that are helpful to us, obstructionist, or ignorable. If others are objects for whom we have no compassion then we are far more apt to do whatever is expedient and self-serving as we try to get them over to the cooperative column or to marginalize them so they are ignorable. Should they hold their ground and insist on being seen and heard, those of us lacking compassion are likely to attack them so they back off. Right? I’m basically just boiling down the playbook you, the NRA, and gun manufacturers are using as you go after the MSD students and their allies. Since these young people could not simply be ignored, you tried the “oh, I’m the magnanimous president who’s doing a ‘listening session’ with you all” deal before ignoring the obvious gun control imperative and trotting out the despicable more guns “solution” while coming around from the back, your cronies are attacking the students mercilessly.

May we see that compassion and integrity are both high, hard, often scary bars.
May we be happy to practice the things that will help us enact both consistently.
May we be healthy enough to see the merits of compassion and integrity.
May we say enough is enough to unfettered, self-serving, greedy gas-lighting.

Tracy Simpson

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