Les Misérables

Which are you?

Just before Thanksgiving last year, I noted two items in news coverage from The Week. Here they are:

Miami-Dade police officer Vicki Thomas decided not to arrest a penniless mother who was shoplifting groceries, and bought her $100 worth of food instead. Seeing the mom’s hungry kids open the bags of food ‘was like Christmas,’ Thomas said. ‘That $100 was worth it to me.’

That same week, police arrested an unemployed Ohio woman for allegedly stealing $2.87 in coins from a public fountain. ‘I’m trying to feed myself,’ said Diedre Romine. ‘Now I’ll go to jail.‘ “

Yesterday, we reminded ourselves that we, as emotional creatures who use reason rather than reasoning creatures who feel emotion, tend to find facts that support our feelings.

One person’s thief is another person’s Jean Valjean.

What seems clear is that there is enough judgment and blame shouted at those who have the least. What’s lacking is compassion and generosity.

We can find evidence for either story we want to tell.

I’m hoping you choose to uplift and inspire rather than condemn and ridicule, not only because it fits into my bias, but also because it will make you distinct, a force for good, for hope.

I don’t think most listeners ever get too much of that.