When H. W. Bush phrased his party as the party of “compassionate conservatism” in an attempt to change the perception of the Republican party as the party of Scrooge, the oxymoronic effort derived immediate derision from the more sensible corners of the country.
But that hasn’t stopped the Republicans effort to continuously lie to the public and hide the intentions of their cuts and denial of funding for programs and legislation that would help the citizenry.
The picture above shows Maggie Hassan, the democratic candidate for governor hugging a woman. We received this picture via a message from Facebook, which tells the story of a cold day in March on 2011 during the most dramatic anti-labor rally held that year. At the state house union members had camped out and staged a huge protest.
When the protest was over and the crowd was leaving, a woman came running out of the state house and down the stairs crying and holding a sign. The sender said that the woman had apparently had words with a Republican (possibly O’Brien?) unsympathetic to the plight of parents of children with Autism, the sign reads, “Support Connor’s Law” and has a picture of what everyone learned later was her son.
While most everyone present stood in stunned silence, Maggie had the courage and presence of mind to act and quickly approached the woman and held her while she cried. Our friend also sent along a picture of the woman showing her sign, you can see tears in her eyes.
Democrats have backed and been the source of some of the most major legislation in this country that protect the rights of workers, created the New Deal, advocated for the Civil Rights Act, pushed to get out of the past wars we’ve waged, advocated for full freedom of rights for women. We were the party that supported gay rights, that turned to listen when the streets exploded with riots in LA and some Democrats were even ready to talk about legalization of medical marijuana long before it became the cause du jour for the young libertarian.
The Republicans can make up every excuse they’d like to justify their inhumane practices in supporting corporations and the 1%, but they can never claim to have compassion. That is the realm of the Democratic party and despite its faults, it remains their core value. Not conservative compassion, not pre-qualified, approved, pre-packaged and market tested compassion, but the kind of compassion that comes from understanding and knowing what it is to suffer injustice.
While Democrats, Progressives and others on the left can argue compassion in degrees, we know its where we stand in solidarity at the core. We know its the kind of compassion that rises out of the heart, that realizes that government represents real people, not statistics. Its the kind of compassion that comes from a warm, breathing, flesh and blood person who has cried, who has loved. It is the compassion that burns like a fire inside the heart of every Democrat who is determined to get up, get in the game and do something. Just like Maggie did that day.