Both Sides Are Compassionate

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the tugboat massacre. Not the greatest calamity on the face of the earth, but it does call to mind what others have noted - the most basic freedom is the freedom to quit. Or in this case, leave. 

Castro's Cuba, like many other dictatorial regimes, creates barriers to opting out. In this case, Cuban Coast Guard vessels rammed a tugboat filled with people trying to flee Cuban oppression, causing it to sink and resulting in the death of many of the dissidents. Not a particularly humane way to handle the situation.

Happily, we can still leave if we don't like things in America. Oddly though, many of those currently agitating on behalf of unmitigated ingress, are often the same people who want to turn back Cuban refugees coming 70 at a time on a tugboat or one or two at a time on a rubber raft, or who find it exhausting to help women and children and the Middle East.

None of this is intended to cast aspersions but is merely intended to remind us that most everyone has deep concern and compassion for those harmed by horrible circumstances. Even those with whom we disagree. Neither side owns the capacity for compassion just as the other side is not reflexively denying aid and comfort to others because of the skin color of those in need. Just as it would be irresponsible to simplistically say the left is turning their backs on the women and girls of the Middle East because they hate people with dark skin, it is inappropriate to say that the right's resisting annexation of the Americas is the result of unchecked racism.

Life is difficult and decisions are nuanced. Let's extend the respect of listening to and considering other's reasoning on matters and refrain from ramming their tugboat with the battering ram of dismissal by racism, or other name calling, that seeks to end the argument by dehumanization of the other.

The impulse to minimize the suffering of others is laudable and decent. But the devil is in the details.

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