Devil's Basketball

Yesterday, our sermon was focused on compassion. The minister — Jeff — said compassion is often confused for charity or pity. Really, compassion is trying to understand the other side and find similarities, not providing platitudes or feeling superior by providing for someone less fortunate.

My weekend included a blur of work and fun. The choreography of my schedule lately has left me running from one thing to another and not paying enough attention to what I’m saying or how I’m acting. (Yes, I’m my biggest critic.) After having fun with friends at the ASU basketball game Saturday afternoon, we ended up at our friend’s sports bar drinking wine and eating nachos.

Bec cheers for ASU

Come on, who wouldn’t want to drink with that adorable face? Bec and I sat outside on the patio enjoying our time while the boys went back to the game for the second half. We hadn’t caught up in a while and it was so nice to enjoy the weather and just have girl time. Then I looked at my watch and realized I was to be at a debate about a mile away in 10 minutes. Of course, I’m wearing heels and jeans. Saying a quick goodbye, I raced (teeter tottered) through campus to Gammage Theater to hear Karl Rove debate Howard Dean.

Rove/Dean Debate

(Cameras weren’t allowed and this is the best I could do without a flash.)

When Karl Rove took the stage, I joined in the frenzy and booed. I’m not proud of it, but in the moment, with a couple glasses of wine under my belt and a lot of anger about the war brimming in my heart — I screamed along with the rude masses. My friend Juliann sat next to me with disgust. It was fairly immediate that I realized I was acting like an idiot and should have given the man a chance to speak.

In fact, the debate brought out the ugliest in the crowd. While I then limited my reactions to appropriate clapping, there were dozens of interruptions from people shouting from the balconies. It made me sad that Tempe portrayed itself in such a crass way.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning, still confused and angered by a lot that was said at the debate, that I realized finding a common ground politically in our country is going to take heaps of compassion. I should have been merciful. I should have been kind. I should have listened more clearly for the similarities, rather than clapping at each of the differences I thought made me superior.

So, I don’t like a lot of Rove’s policy decisions. I remain steadfast that war isn’t the answer and that there must have been another way to handle our conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan. I also think the amount of money we are spending on warfare is criminal and could be the final straw for our economy’s back. But, there were things he said that I did agree with too. I am a big believer in personal responsibility first and foremost. I think government should be smaller and community should be strengthened to help citizens in need. I think our immigration policy is failing wildly.

I look forward to having lunch with my friend Dena this week; she was at the debate and our political views couldn’t be more different. I plan on speaking less and listening more. There has to be a middle ground.


12 Replies to “Compassion”

  1. I have to laugh. With your first pic I thought you were going to talk about compassion for the other sport’s team. While you are so very correct about listen to the other’s side and finding compassion. But you had been at a college ball game, followed by wine and nachos at a sports bar, and then to another crowd that sounds to be pretty spirited. It’s hard to stay in your seat with out emotion on that sort of an afternoon. While respect is always crucial to a debate. If it doesn’t stir emotion then it’s probably not much of a debate. Unfortunately to take the ideals and values that stir the emotion, and turn them into policy emotions do need to be checked with compassion and understanding of all those around us. I tell my kids when they are upset at other children that they don’t have to like everyone else, but they do need to show respect and kindness regardless. Easier said than done.

  2. That’s an oath I should take. Thanks for the insight, reminder, and confession. You’re a great activist first and foremost because you have compassion. Thanks.

  3. Kelli, Although you and I disagree, I think we have more common ground than you think. It’s just my approach that is different, and I’d be happy to share why I believe the way I do.

  4. Last week I watched a tv program, the guest was Gino Strada, the founder of Emergency ( They need to build 12 more hospitals in critical areas of the world, their cost would be 250 millions $, the money USA spends in just 8 minutes of war. It’s difficult to feel compassion when you hear things like this…..

  5. I appreciate your effort to invoke a mindful sense of compassion, not easy in our world but necessary. Although I do try hard to be fair and consider both sides of a situation, sometimes I bring my own preconceived ideas and notions of what’s right or wrong with an issue before truly listening. I’m trying to improve on that behavior.

  6. Nothing is simply black and white. Some of us realize this…others do not. We can still be passionate about our “side”, as long as we listen to the other and are respectful. I think healthy discussion about our differences is good. It’s when we take it personally that we get into trouble. I don’t think God would have put color into this world if He hadn’t wanted us to see things with different eyes. BTW…I totally agree with all you said.

  7. I couldnt agree with EVERYTHING You said more. I seem to be the target for a lot of angry people w regards to beliefs…..such a growing experience to try and BE the peace that I believe in. “Peace starts with me”……..And I dont always win. That said I did have a David and Goliath moment with my son’s school this morning….I centered myself and it it all worked out peacefully for both parties.

  8. It is all too easy to assign motives when we disagree, but I’d venture to say that most Americans, even some who are involved in politics (lol) have the best of intentions. It has to be good to try to understand the “other side’s” point of view. While it may not solve the world’s problems, maybe it could relieve some animosity and help to find some common solutions?

  9. Forgive me for pointing this out, but the spotlights in the background of the debate look like hearts. Hmmm. Compassion. 🙂

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