Compassion in crisis

By: Reyshimar Arguelles

Morality, like everything else in this post-modern world, is relative – at least to the minds of those who let personal agendas take precedence over public service. It does not come as a surprise to see a politician save himself and his ilk from a sinking ship. And you know for sure that politicians are not exactly the type of savior to believe in.

Then again, in times of peril, you could only expect people from different backgrounds to act in a certain way towards situations that involve others. As much as people want to pursue personal interests to the detriment of others, there still remains enough room for compassion, solidarity, and empathy.

Nowhere is this desire to act as a compassionate community more evident than our struggles against nature. In the face of catastrophes that lie beyond our control, everyone has a duty to fulfill in trying to save each other’s lives.

It seems as though you could not blame politicians if they mobilize all their resources to succor their constituents, the same way rich people briefly get off of their high horses and help out in whatever way they can.

But considering the fact that we have a system that tends to politicize every single event including those where bickering over who gets to distribute relief goods to typhoon victims is pointless and unproductive.

This illustrates how morose our political situation has become, so much so that the spectacle of political rivalries has become more important than finding a way to mitigate the effects of future disasters. What we get instead is these yahoos trying to best each other in needless compassion contests.

You could not expect the worst pigs to have entered the sacred halls of Congress to do a good job at being sincere. Is it because politicians have perfected the art of bad faith so much that being outright liars does not keep them up at night anymore?

It is this malady that has destroyed the very core of compassion in politics. Then again, is it even right to characterize politics as compassionate? Should we rely on this idea that our institutions are looking out for us that we repay them with loyalty and subservience?

It is doubtful for our leaders to act in accordance with moral law. The system is so corrupt to the core that politicians would not hesitate to put everybody on dire straits when the need arises. And if ever they do show an inch of helpfulness, you couldn’t help but think if their motives are really in tune with their actions.

In the event of a disaster, politicians are expected to do their part outside their roles as crafters of law. They have to display themselves as ordinary people who are driven by their purpose to serve others in any way they can. You become just as vulnerable and powerless as those who risk their lives and limbs to dig out bodies and survivors from under a pile of rubble.

Any human tragedy can be a source of solidarity because people are in agreement that earthquakes, typhoons, terrorist bombings, and the like require a sense of genuine cooperation to overcome.

However, we could not blame people for the way they view our rotten political culture. That is because politicians see any event, regardless of how dire and severe, as both a