With Teeth & Compassion….

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“Can we make legislation with enough teeth in them for conservatives and compassion for liberals?”

I heard the above phrase, or at least something close to it, from a news commentator recently. I wish I could cite the source but I really don’t remember who it was.  But the phrase struck me as maybe a primary difference between these two groups.

Conservatives seem to be much more concerned about “law and order” than about being altruistic. They want to make sure that no one gets anything that they haven’t worked for or at least earned in one way or another. Liberals on the other hand are willing to give people the benefit of doubt and just don’t assume that everyone needing help is just  gaming the system.
Since there seems to be such a strong divide between these two groups in our current political processes the question is can we create laws that satisfy both of these groups? I guess we will soon find that out if the immigration initiatives comes to anything.

Maybe when it comes down to the root level my Republican friends just see a bad guy at every corner who they need to defend themselves from and my Democratic friends just see someone who is maybe down because of some circumstances and just needs a little help. Does that explain the different world views? Maybe.

This is kind of a unique way of describing the conservative/liberal divide.  Do any of my conservative or liberal friends have a different take on it?

2 thoughts on “With Teeth & Compassion….

  1. Very good and clear description, RJ. I totally agree. I think this same divide applies to most people with or without the political slant. I was a public school teacher and administrator for my career. Every teacher I worked with over 35 years could also be broken down into these two “attitudes”. Those who were “rule and enforcement” obsessive and saw every student as just waiting to take advantage of every situation. The other camp were those who understood that students were generally honest and wanted to learn but came from a multitude of backgrounds and issues that caused them to have various behaviors and needs. The second group understood that, yes, there would be the occasional cheating students but also understood that you couldn’t stop that entirely anyway so they took the higher road and concentrated on the positive. There were effective teachers in both camps–but guess which ones were happier and better liked by students and colleagues?


    1. Thanks for the input Don. Yeah, I kind of thought that grouping was pretty effective too. But as you say I want to be in the compassion crowd as at least we can usually point to some success stories to celebrate. The other group just counts the bad guys taken down.

      In my weekly volunteering at the soup kitchen/ men’s homeless shelter I see a regular stream of folks who have maybe made some mistakes in life and it cost them dearly. Many end up back in prison I guess but it is wonderful to be able to point to those who have turned around their lives. That small group makes me very happy indeed and well worth all the time I put in there….


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