Friday, December 15, 2006

Senator Tim Johnson: Self-Interested Compassion

Is it just me or is there something really wrong with our collective interest in the health of Senator Tim Johnson? What I mean by wrong is that the reasons behind our concern are wrong. When Senator Johnson was taken to hospital for brain surgery after "stroke-like symptoms", the media went into a frenzy, not because the man was gravely ill and perhaps fighting for his life, but because his death could upset the new power calculus in Congress.

The Democrats may lose their control over the senate if Senator Johnson were to die or become incapacitated. Should this happen, the Republican governor of South Dakota would surely appoint a republican replacement to fill the seat which would place the senate at 50/50 with Vice President Cheney as tie-breaker. In other words, the senate would be under Republican control.

We should care about Senator Johnson as a fellow human being and as an elected leader. Yet, the irony is that while the reason underlying our concern is less-than charitable or compassionate, it is understandable. Other than Buddhists who genuinely seek disinterested altruism, the situation here is clearly one where charity begins and stays at home. Whether democrat or republican, the nervous hand-wringing over this man's health is anything but disinterested compassion - it is purely self-interested concern.

It is in this human story that politics shows its inhuman face. And, while I understand that such is the nature of the beast, I am finding it unpalatable. I find it sad - and not merely with disinterested compassion for him, but rather self-interested concern for us.

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Anonymous SAURON said...

Each time one of the news networks plays the Senator's last phone interview I switch off.
The man was on a press-call and the tape has been re-played 100's of times, as his voice falters and his attack occurs.
Like watching a fatal car accident over and over...disgusting.

8:51 PM  
Blogger CB said...

Amen Dahlia,

In vending area of my office there is a television, someone had it tuned to the station that carries The View, something I would never voluntarily watch. As I prepared my coffee I heard one of the hostesses of the show, a red headed woman say - I'm paraphrasing - That she didn't care so much about him, he wasn't important, what was important was control of the Senate. She also went on to say, she wouldn't be surprised to find out that this was a republican dirty trick. - I am not making that up. It was disturbing.

8:52 AM  
Blogger CB said...

What was worse, the audience cheered her comments.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

The media is not as Dahlia, an Earthbound angel.

6:34 PM  

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