Saturday, October 6, 2007

On compassion

From an op-ed by Paul Krugman entitled Conservatives are such jokers in the NYT today.

Mark Crispin Miller, the author of “The Bush Dyslexicon,” once made a striking observation: all of the famous Bush malapropisms — “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and so on — have involved occasions when Mr. Bush was trying to sound caring and compassionate.

By contrast, Mr. Bush is articulate and even grammatical when he talks about punishing people; that’s when he’s speaking from the heart. The only animation Mr. Bush showed during the flooding of New Orleans was when he declared “zero tolerance of people breaking the law,” even those breaking into abandoned stores in search of the food and water they weren’t getting from his administration.

What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.
I don't often find myself wondering about the political affiliations of my fellow librarians. Most seem to be gracious people dedicated to public service. But you can see in the comments of the Annoyed Librarian's post today that every profession has its small minded camp. I challenge my fellow librarians to be more accepting of each other. We never need to talk a colleague down in order to feel like we ourselves are somehow "more". Even hypothetically.

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